Masters 2016: Danny Willett thanks fate for help in unlikely victory

The Englishman admits he would not have played at Augusta if his first infant had not arrived nearly two weeks early

Danny Willett insisted fate played a crucial part in him becoming the first Englishman since Nick Faldo in 1996 to win the Masters and merely the second ever to wear the green coat.

A stunning afternoon at Augusta National watched Willett upstage the long-time leader and defending champ Jordan Spieth. The Yorkshireman won by three shots at five under par, having trailed Spieth by five when the Texan took to the 10 th tee.

Willetts first infant, a boy, arrived prematurely on the Tuesday before Masters week, with the uncertainty over that birth date meaning he wasnt certain even to play in the Masters for a time. Its not been a bad last 12 days, said Willett. Words cant describe the impressions of whats going on and what weve just achieved. Im just going to have to wait and see if it sinks in. I cant wait to get home and celebrate with their own families.

My wife was born, in about 10 minutes time, 28 years ago, its her birthday back home today[ Monday ]. My son was due today and he came early too, obviously, letting me come and play. So “were talking about” fate, “were talking about” everything else that goes with it, its just been a crazy, crazy week.

I said I wouldnt come here if he wasnt bear and I was sticking by that. Thankfully he answered my prayers and went early. People were saying Try to bring the green coat home for the little man. Its a little bit big but I am sure he will grow into it.

Willetts round of 67 on Sunday contrasted with Spieths 73. This marked merely the 28 -year-olds second Masters appearance; he tied 38 th a year ago. Willetts success will earn him $1.8 m and a move to one-ninth in the world rankings.

Obviously Sandy Lyle and Nick Faldo[ and Ian Woosnam] were the last Brits, a long, long time ago, he added. And related to the follow-up with them, its fantastic. They were great champs to win the Masters. And I still cant believe Im going to be in and amongst them. And in the champs locker room, it really is mind-boggling for me.

Jack Nicklaus, the 18 -time major win, was amongst those to offer sympathy to Spieth. I think the whole golfing world feelings for Jordan Spieth, Nicklaus said. He had a chance to do something genuinely special and something very few have done beforeand be the youngest to accomplish thatand he just didnt pull through.

My heart runs out to him for what happened, but I know that Jordan is a young man who will certainly learn from its own experience and there will be some good that comes out of this for him. Hes a wonderful talent and a wonderful young man.

Understandably, Willett regarded the circumstances of Spieths collapse as extraordinary. It had been tough, he said. Every time we seemed to make ground, Jordan kept pulling ahead. And we were just trying to dig in and dig in and try and make birdies and birdies. I thought we had to get to six or seven under. Then I look at the leaderboard and hes already at seven and it was just, it was just a very surreal day, when you look back at the ebbs and flows. It was fortunate that the shots we hit were correct at that time and we holed a few putts when we needed to.

It all happened very, very quickly, obviously. We went from behind to suddenly two in front. It was all a little bit surreal.

Spieth was visibly distraught when carrying out post-round interviews and even when presenting Willett with the green coat. The 22 -year-olds low point was a seven at the par three 12 th, which included two balls reached into a water hazard.

Its tough, really tough, said Spieth. Four birdies in a row[ from the 6th to the 9th] and I knew that even par[ on the back nine] is good by at the least a shot. Sometimes that builds it hard, you go away from the game plan and start playing conservative. A few weak swingings and suddenly I am not leading any more.

We still have the confidence that we are a closing squad, we can close. I have no doubt about that ability. It was just a very tough 30 minutes for me that I hopefully never experience again.

Willett admitted he could empathise with “the mens” who ultimately tied second with Lee Westwood. He shook my hand like the true gent he is and said Really well played, said Willett. Hes a class act.

Read more: www.theguardian.com

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