In December 2014, Danny Willett won just his second tournament as a professional golfer. The victory moved him into the top 50 in the world, but the Englishman was still something of an unknown quantity. Fast forward just over a year, and Willett sits just outside the world’s top ten and looks a certainty to be part of Europe’s Ryder Cup side later this year.
2015 proved to be an excellent year for Willett, although it got off to a slow start. His first top ten finish came when he finished third in WGC Cadillac Match Play, before inning his first tournament of the year at the European Masters. The win saw Willett move up the rankings and into the 30, although he was still by no means a household name.
He went on to finish third at the Open D’Italia, before again finishing in the top three at the HSBC Champions Event. Willett’s consistent end to the year con tinted as he recorded back to back fourth place finishes at the World Tour Championship and the Nedbank Golf Challenge. These impressive performances saw Willett end the year in the top twenty.
Despite his successes in 2015, Willett will be disappointed he didn’t make more of an impression at the Majors. He finished sixth at The Open and at one point looked like he could win the tournament, but failed to make the cut at the US Open. He made the cut at the PGA Championship and The Masters, but failed to make any charge towards the top of the leaderboard.
2016 has already started well for Willett. He won the Dubai Desert Classic earlier this year and recently finished third at the WGC Cadillac Championship. However, this year he will be hoping to cement his reputation as one of the best players in the world by performing better at Majors. While his game may not suit the American courses, he will be hoping to improve on his sixth place finish at last year’s open.
Willett’s rise to prominence will be a relief to Europe Ryder Cup captain Darren Clarke. Europe has been short of outstanding performers in recent years, but Willett has certainly given the Europeans hope they could pull off an upset at this year’s tournament in the States.