Danny Willett proud of performance after first win since 2016 Masters
By Keith Jackson
Last Updated: 18/11/18 6:51pm
Danny Willett was delighted with how he maintained his poise and composure down the stretch after he claimed an emotional victory at the DP World Tour Championship.
Willett's winless run since the 2016 Masters looked in danger of extending when he followed a confident, outward 33 with bogeys at the 10th and 12th which reduced his lead to a single shot after playing partner Patrick Reed began the back nine with a pair of birdies.
But the Englishman, who had earlier holed a superb 40-foot putt for eagle at the second, hit back to match Reed's birdies at 14 and 15, and he added another at the 17th after knocking a sublime tee shot to five feet with the American in trouble on the left.
Willett was fortunate that his blocked tee shot at the last stopped inches short of the water hazard on the right, and he closed out an impressive two-shot win which will hoist him back into the world's top 100 just six months after being ranked as low as 462nd.
"We got off to a flying start and everything seemed rosy in the camp," said Willett. "Then obviously there was a blip there down 10 and 12, so I'm proud of how I handled that and how I handled myself emotionally everything and else.
"And the way I finished out those last five or six holes, having not been in that position for a long time, you never know if you're going to be back in the position, and it's nice that I got back in there and I handled it the way in which I did."
Willett climbed into the world's top 10 after his thrilling win at Augusta National in April 2016, but he has since had to deal with back and shoulder injuries which prompted a dramatic loss of form, although he can now look to the future with optimism after his hard work off the course was validated in Dubai.
"Regardless of what would have happened today, I'm in a much better place than where I was," added the 31-year-old. "I knew that things were going the right way and I was doing all the work possible to give myself chances to do this.
"Winning is a rarity on Tour, really. I'm pleased to have won the tournaments that I've won over the last few years. I've won some pretty big ones, and obviously Augusta is always going to be special.
"But this, coming back after everything that's happened, this year is going to go down in the history books for myself as one of the most pleasing.
"At the back end of '16, beginning of '17, we picked up a couple of bad injuries, the golf game wasn't in a good place and I didn't really want to play golf. There were some great things going on in the golfing world, but I wasn't in a position to where I was enjoying what I was doing, and I was in pain."
Willett also revealed he drew on memories of his final-round performance at the 2016 Masters, when a bogey-free 67 earned him his maiden major title after Jordan Spieth could not recover from a disastrous quadruple-bogey seven at the 12th.
"One thing that you can't teach is how you cope under pressure down the stretch, that just comes naturally to some people," he said. "Fortunately I feel like we are relatively good in certain situations when I'm competent in what I'm doing.
"Yeah, you draw back, you draw on a lot of things. You look and you kind of really think of shots I hit around Augusta, and how you felt there, hands were shaking, how your nerves were, holing a few of those little slippery six-footers, and we had a few of them today.
"You do draw on it, but I haven't been able to draw it, because like I said, I haven't been in a proper position to be able to do so."