Willett Dons the Green Jacket
FOR much of the tournament, it seemed that the stylish, youthful and energetic defending champion, Jordan Spieth, would win his second Masters, and third major title, but in the end, he would trip up, in more ways than one, which allowed Sheffield-born Danny Willett to win one of the biggest prizes in the golfing world.
After the first three days, Spieth had virtually led the leaderboard throughout the entire tournament, not least after his flawless 6 under par on the opening day. By Saturday night, however, it seemed possible that Rory McIlroy would no longer have a chance to win the one title that eluded him, as he finished the day five shots behind Spieth, although Smylie Kaufman was one shot behind, and there were a group of players who were only two or three shots behind the American, including the great Bernhard Langer, Hideki Matsuyama, Jason Day, Dustin Johnson and Willett.
The front nine on Sunday’s final round went well for the defending champion, as he hit five birdies and it seemed that he would win the prize once again. It would, however, be the twelfth hole which would be his demise, as he hit the ball into the water twice, before landing it into the perilous bunker. 7 shots on a par three severely compromised his potential to win the tournament, although, since he was in the last group, he still had seven holes to claw back whatever lead Willett, Westwood and Johnson might get.
Willet ended his round on -5, with Lee Westwood, his playing partner, finishing on -2. Westwood had, once again, produced another great round at Augusta but ultimately came up short, as the Englishmen so often does. It was now up to Spieth to try and catch the Englishmen. Ultimately, he fell short, as one single birdie in the last five holes, especially contrasted against the bogey, meant that he would finished joint second with Lee Westwood, three shots behind champion Willett.
An honourable mention must go to American golfing great Tom Watson, who played his 43rd Masters, in a career which has seen him win eight Majors. He failed to make the cut, but that doesn’t matter. The Masters said goodbye to a great, as a great said goodbye to this year’s Masters. Another boy from Sheffield, the 21-year-old Matthew Fitzpatrick, finished on even par – and so in joint-fourth position. He should be a player to watch. Bryson DeChambeau was the amateur champion, and for much of the tournament he was at the top of the leaderboard.
The Masters finished with Willett winning, with Sir Alex Ferguson – who was there – later joking with him that he had put £8,000 on Spieth to win. As a tournament which saw much promise by English players, not just Willett and Westwood, but Fitzpatrick, Paul Casey and Justin Rose, perhaps we will see these names do well in the Open Championship in the summer, or even the Ryder Cup. It has been a good tournament, and, no matter what happens to Willett and his career, it will be a moment he will never forget.
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