Danny Willett Profile
|Born||Oct 03, 1987|
Danny Willett's career has been something of a rollercoaster featuring a world number one amateur ranking, Masters glory, a form slump, and finally European Tour rejuvenation.
Sheffield native Danny Willett is just the second Englishman to have won the US Masters in the tournament's long history.
A former English Amateur champion and Walker Cup team member, Willett's promising junior career ensured that he won a place in the Jacksonville State University golf program.
After a two-year collegiate career that included medalist honors at the 2007 OVC Championship, Willett turned professional in 2008 and qualified for the 2009 European Tour via Qualifying School.
Willett enjoyed a great start to life on the Tour, recording eight top 10 finishes and ending 58th in the inaugural Race to Dubai.
After multiple seasons without a tournament win, Willett finally ended his wait for professional victory at the 2012 BMW International Open in Germany.
Two years later, Willett raised his profile by winning the Nedbank Challenge, referred to by locals as Africa's Major, beating a field that included the likes of Brooks Koepka, Shane Lowry and Charl Schwartzel.
At Augusta, in 2016, Willett pulled off a final-round 67 to claim a three shot victory over Jordan Spieth and compatriot Lee Westwood. His Major Championship breakthrough at the Masters moved him into the world's top 10 for the first time.
A spell in the wilderness followed before Willett won the European Tour's season-ending DP World Tour Championship in late 2018 to return to the spotlight.
Willett's talent was identified early and he was awarded a golf scholarship at Jacksonville State University in Alabama after completing his basic education in England.
At JSU, Willett was named the 2006 Ohio Valley Conference Freshman of the Year.
Willett was red-hot in 2007, earning medalist honors at the 2007 OVC Championship and going on to be crowned the English Amateur champion.
In early 2008, Willett won the Australian Amateur Stroke Play Championship and the Spanish International Amateur Championship, successes that vaulted him to the top of the world amateur rankings.
Willett represented the losing Great Britain and Ireland team in the 2007 Walker Cup against an American side that included Rickie Fowler, Dustin Johnson and Webb Simpson.
After joining the paid ranks in 2008, Willett earned a spot on the 2009 European Tour by visiting the Qualifying School.
He enjoyed a steady start to his career with eight top-10 finishes in 26 starts through his rookie year. His best finishes were a pair of fourths at the Joburg Open and the Celtic Manor Wales Open.
Willett flirted with a first professional win in 2010 when finishing runner-up at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship. He also held a final-round lead at the BMW PGA Championship but had dropped back to fifth by the time he had completed his round. He ended the 2010 European Tour in 23rd place on the Order of Merit.
In mid-2012, Willett ended his wait for a first professional win with a playoff triumph over Marcus Fraser at the BMW International Open in Cologne.
He won the Nedbank Golf Challenge at the famous Gary Player Country Club in Sun City, South Africa, at the end of 2014, beating countryman Ross Fisher by four strokes after weekend rounds of 65 and 66.
Eight months later, shortly after flirting with the lead at the 2015 British Open, Willett scored another win at the Omega European Masters in Switzerland.
The snowball effect continued. He recorded a career-low round of 62 at the WGC-HSBC Champions in November 2015 and then started 2016 with victory in the Dubai Desert Classic.
Winning the Masters
Willett prepared for his second assault on Augusta by finishing third at the WGC-Cadillac Championship, a third top three finish in just four WGC appearances and proof of his growing confidence at the top level.
At Augusta National, Willett stayed in contention with three solid rounds of golf but didn't look to be in the title hunt until Jordan Spieth's spectacular collapse on the 12th hole.
Upon learning that he was leading the tournament, Willett held his nerve as Spieth, Lee Westwood and Dustin Johnson all lost theirs in a dramatic conclusion - he eventually won by three strokes.
He was embroiled in controversy during his Ryder Cup debut later that year after his brother made derisive comments aimed at the United States team and their supporters. Willett failed to score a point in his matches and Europe lost the Ryder Cup. He has not qualified for the team since.
Moreover, injury began to impede his swing, his confidence dropped and his form disintegrated.
He left long-term coach Pete Cowan and began working with Sean Foley in an attempt to rebuild his swing and avoid further injury.
Midway through 2018 Willett logged a top 10 at the Italian Open. It was his first in 28 events and he had recorded just three top 50s in that horror spell.
He admitted that he was happier in himself and with his swing that summer and proved it by returning to winning ways by claiming the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai ahead of Patrick Reed.
Just under a year later he added the BMW PGA Championship, the European Tour's flagship event.
He entered the final round in a tie for the lead with Jon Rahm before powering home with a 67 that gave him a three shot win over the Spaniard.
Danny Willett's personal life
Willett is part of a close-knit family and has described his father, a vicar in the Church of England, as the best sports psychologist in the world.
He has three brothers, two older and one younger than him, and says it was the influence of his elder siblings that got him into golf.
His mother is Swedish. Willett honors her with a Swedish flag emblazoned on his golf bag.
Willett married Nicole Harris in 2013. The couple have two children, and she has occasionally been roped in to caddie for him when regular looper Sam Haywood is unable to work. Their sons were christened Zachariah and Noah, named after characters in the Bible.
He enjoys his soccer and is a big fan of Liverpool FC. He is also still a member of the Lindrick Golf Club in Yorkshire.
Danny Willett's net worth
Estimates of Willett's net worth vary wildly from around $2million up to as much as $16million.
Willett is supplied by Callaway and outfitted by Japanese sportswear brand Descente.
He also enjoys marketing relationships with Audemars Piguet, NetJets and Hickies.