Danny Willett wins 80th Masters golf tournament



Jordan Spieth hits a shot from a sand trap along the 10th green during the final round of the Masters on Sunday, April 10, 2016, at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Ga. (Jeff Siner/Charlotte Observer/TNS)

Lindsey Loechel, Reporter

The 80th edition of the Masters Tournament was held April 7–10 at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia. Danny Willett won his first major championship with a score of 283 (-5), three strokes ahead of competitors Lee Westwood and defending champion Jordan Spieth. Spieth headed the tournament from the first round until the 12th hole of the final round, where he hit his ball not once but twice into Rae’s Creek, making a quadruple-bogey seven.

The Masters Tournament, started by Bobby Jones and Clifford Roberts, is one of the four major championships in professional golf. The tournament is scheduled for the first full week of April, and it is the first of the majors to be played each year.

Unlike the other major championships, which change locations each year, the Masters is held each year at the same location, Augusta National Golf Club, a private golf club in Augusta, Georgia. Due to the fact that the Augusta National Golf Club holds it, the tournament is an invitational event; therefore the field of players is smaller than those of the other major championships.

After defeating his competitors, Danny Willett became the first European to win the Masters tournament since 1999, and was also the first from England since Nick Faldo’s similar win in 1996.

Although he is widely known for his professional golfing skills, Willett’s journey to the green jacket began 16 years ago when he signed up with some friends for an inner-city golf scheme that was created with the goal of getting kids off the street and giving them something constructive to do.

These sessions took place next to a housing development in Sheffield, England, about four thousand miles from the manicured greens of Augusta National. About 12 at the time, Willett had just been introduced to golf by his father on a family trip to Wales.

While Willett’s introduction to golf was humble, it was on the municipal course at Birley Wood where his devotion to the sport would begin.

“The most noticeable thing was in the winter when he was getting better, he’d stay there until it was absolutely pitch black, chipping and putting under the lights of the club. I’d said to him, ‘It’s pitch black, freezing cold, you should really be going home.” Peter Ball, Willett’s first coach said. “His ability to work was incredible,” he added.

After four years of working with Ball, Willett quit college after a month and moved to Jacksonville State University in the United States, where he dedicated his life to golf. Now, his hard work has paid off, earning him the triumph of winning the 2016 Masters Tournament.

While Willett achieved the title of a champion, competitor Jordan Spieth faced a devastating defeat. The passing of the symbolic green jacket to the new winner is always difficult for the reigning champion.

Billy Payne, club chairman, expressed his undying gratitude to Spieth for being “such a splendid champion this year.”