One a dramatic final day at Augusta, Neil Tappin asks whether Jordan Spieth threw it away or Danny Willett 2016 Masters Champion, won it
As Sky were waiting for their live coverage to begin, previewing the final round of the 2016 Masters, there was a shot of Jordan Spieth and Jason Day having a laugh and a joke on the practice range. David Livingstone asked Paul McGinley what he thought of this strangely friendly meeting between fierce rivals. McGinley’s response was interesting – in golf, ultimately you play against the course, not each other.
Danny Willett handled the test of Augusta better than anyone this week. Fact. That Jordan Spieth was five ahead on the 10th tee and three behind walking off the 12th, is immaterial. The challenge facing the Sheffield man at the start of the day was huge. He needed to compile a solid front nine to stay in touch with Jordan Spieth. Check. He then needed to navigate Amen Corner without disaster. Check. He then needed to step on the gas to move up the leaderboard. Check. Finally he needed to make it back to the safety of the clubhouse unharmed. Check.
PODCAST: Golf Monthly Masters 2016 Review
The pressure of the final round at the Masters is immense, no matter whether you’re leading or chasing. Two years ago, Danny Willett would likely have faltered as many of the rest did. But after finishing second on the Race to Dubai last year and winning the Dubai Desert Classic (what many describe as the Middle East major) earlier this, there was no doubting that Willett was becoming a major champion in the making.
Enter Augusta April 2016. With a sniff of the lead Willett was more in control of his ball flight and his emotions than anyone else. Drives were fired fearlessly down the fairway, iron shots dispatched at the target and the putts kept dropping. This was a supreme performance – this was the Danny Willett 2016 Masters.
As the dust settles on the 2016 Tournament, Jordan Spieth will get the majority of the headlines. But Willett has the Green Jacket. Augusta has and always will be the ultimate test of nerve. Just as we thought Spieth was untouchable, the golfing Gods bit back, showing us just how mental the challenge is. Indeed it was this that made Willett’s performance so impressive. All that could go wrong, didn’t. The reward is a place in golfing history.