Though he turned professional golfer in 2008, Daniel John Willett popularly known as just Danny Willett won his first major championship at the 2016 Masters Tournament. Apart from boosting his career, the milestone put his name on record as the second Englishman to achieve the feat. He’s also the first European in 17 years to win at Augusta National.
Did you know Danny practised golf in a sheep field when he was younger? Find out a bit more about the English professional golfer who plays on the European Tour and has established himself as a champion in his field.
Danny Willett Biography
On October 3, 1987, Danny was born as one of four brothers in Sheffield, Yorkshire. He seemingly comes from a religious with his father (Steve) serving as a vicar in a Church of England. His mother, a Swedish-born woman named Elisabet taught maths as a school teacher.
Growing up was admittedly fun for Danny who would practise his golf in the middle of a sheep field where they played a par three course. Apparently, the practices didn’t go unrewarded. Earlier, Danny had secured a golf scholarship and played two seasons for Jacksonville State University (JSU) in the U.S.
He made the most of his time at the university and became the 2006 Ohio Valley Conference Freshman of the Year. He also won medallist honours at the 2007 OVC Championship among other recognitions. By 2007, he won the English Amateur Championship as an amateur golfer. He went on to compete in the Walker Cup at Royal County Down the same year. 2008 saw him taking the title of number one amateur in the world.
Danny Willett Professional Golf Career
Also in 2008, Danny Willett earned his European Tour card for the 2009 season. This was after he turned pro in golf. The 2009 season was a successful one for the golfer who finished 58th in the inaugural Race to Dubai with eight top-10s. The next year, he was challenged at the 2010 BMW PGA Championship, taking the first-round lead. However, he lagged behind and finally finished outright fifth, winning 190,800 euros. The 2010 season finished with him ranking 23rd on the Order of Merit. The performance earned him his first spot on the top 100 of the Official World Golf Ranking.
Sadly, his success dwindled a bit in 2011 but while he finished the season with only one top ten placement in 30 competitions, Danny was able to retain his tour membership with a final 91st place in the Order of Merit.
His star shined again in 2012 with his first victory on the European Tour at the BMW International Open in Cologne. He was ranked on the 23rd position at the final Order of Merit for the season after he collected a second place at the Omega European Masters; a third place at the Maybank Malaysian Open in addition to three more top-ten finishes.
From 2013 to 2015, Danny Willett carved out a perfect niche for himself as one of the leading European players, collecting seven top-ten finishes and ended 2015 in 25th place in The Race to Dubai.
His first major championship was won at the 2016 Masters Tournament at Augusta National. He clinched the prize after shooting a five-under-par round of 67; he took advantage of a collapse by Jordan Spieth. He became the first British player to win the Masters in 20 years after Nick Faldo won it in 1996.
Still, in the 2016 season, Danny recorded more success, collecting his fourth win on the European Tour at the Dubai Desert Classic, got 2nd place at the 2016 Italian Open as well as a 3rd place at the BMW PGA Championship.
Unfortunately, he lost his PGA Tour privileges by the end of the 2016-17 season. This follows his failure to make the required fifteen starts.
Family: Wife, Brother
Willett’s parents are Steve (father), a vicar in a Church of England and Elisabet (mother), a Swedish-born woman who taught maths as a school teacher. One of his brothers is also a teacher.
Danny’s wife is Nicole Harris who he married in 2013. They had their first child (son) in 2016. The baby arrived in time to motivate him for his victory at the 2016 Masters. The family resides in Rotherham, Yorkshire.
At his Ryder Cup debut, Danny’s brother, Peter Willett sparked controversy in a National Club Golfer article by talking inappropriately about how Americans wouldn’t stand a chance to win. Though he distanced himself and apologised for his brother’s comments, Danny later sided with him after the competition.
Quick Facts About Danny Willet
He was born in Sheffield, Yorkshire in 1987.
He is the son of a preacher in Sheffield.
He used to practise golf in a sheep field when he was younger.
Before he turned pro, he was named the number one amateur in the world in 2008.
The pro golfer won his first major championship at the 2016 Masters Tournament and became the first European in 17 years to win at Augusta National.