Worksop (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Masters champion Danny Willett is determined his first major golf title won’t be his only one.
The Englishman seized on the opportunity created by longtime leader Jordan Spieth’s dramatic final-round collapse at Augusta National on Sunday, with his five-shot lead obliterated by a quadruple bogey on the 12th hole that effectively ended the American’s hopes of back-to-back Masters titles.
Willett took his chance with a final round of 67 as he became the first British winner of the Masters since Nick Faldo in 1996.
His victory rounded off a memorable couple of weeks for the 28-year-old Willett after his wife Nicole gave birth to the couple’s first child, Zachariah, just 12 days before the Masters started.
“Fortunately I’ve now tasted the top echelons of the sport and you just want more,” Willett said Wednesday.
“A dream of mine was to win major championships and that’s what I dedicated myself to do, to work hard and gain that self belief it one day might happen and weirdly, three days ago, that’s exactly what did happen.
“I don’t like to set myself goals in terms of winning X amounts of tournaments, it’s more just ticking boxes of doing the right things every day.”
Inevitably, much of the focus since the Masters has been on Spieth’s collapse rather than Willett’s victory, but the new champion was unconcerned at suggestions he was not getting the credit he deserved.
“I don’t really mind what people think, who won or who lost. I am obviously able to sit here in the green jacket and enjoy it,” he said.
“Part of golf is being able to handle certain things, handle the pressure and hit the right shots at the right time. If I’d have shot 72 and Jordan did what he did it would have been a different story.
“I was able to put myself in a position where if anyone did make a mistake we were there to capitalise and that’s we did. It’s what Faldo did in ’96 with (Greg) Norman, it’s what happened many a time in golf tournaments around the world. That’s golf, that’s life.”
Willett’s Masters triumph has all but guaranteed him places on both the European Ryder Cup team in September and the Great Britain side for when golf makes its Olympic debut at this year’s Games in Rio.
“The Olympics is going to be great fun,” Willett added. “It’s going to be awesome to be in and around the best athletes in the world at their allotted sports.
“For us with the majors and WGCs we get four chances a year at each of them, these guys get one chance every four years. It kind of puts it into perspective how important those few weeks are for them athletes. Just to be in and around that is going to be brilliant.
“And then to be on the plane to Hazeltine with Clarkey (European captain Darren Clarke) and the lads is going to be awesome. It’s a dream come true.”