Road to recovery complete for emotional Willett

Golf News

Danny Willett is a winner again after a two-year battle with injury and loss of form. Alex Perry wraps up the action from the Race to Dubai finale

What happened at the DP World Tour Championship?

Danny Willett won his first title since slipping on the Green Jacket at Augusta in 2016.

But he didn’t half make us sweat!

With a two-shot lead standing on the 18th tee, Willett pushed his drive right, hopped off the side of the fairway and nestled against the rocks of the brook that meanders its way up to the green. One rotation more and the ball was wet.

From there he got down for par to seal a two-shot victory at 18-under.

Matt Wallace made a charge with a 4-under 68 to get to 16-under, but it was only good enough for a runner-up spot, while Willett’s playing partner and current Masters champion Patrick Reed’s charge ended with bogey at 17 and he shared 2nd with Wallace.

Full DP World Championship leaderboard

What about the Race to Dubai?

The week with only Francesco Molinari and Tommy Fleetwood able to win the Race to Dubai, but the Englishman needed victory. As it turned out, Reed’s 16-under was enough to knock Fleetwood from second spot.

The top 10 in the 2018 Race to Dubai is as follows (tournaments played and ranking points in brackets):

1. Francesco Molinari (12, 6,041,521)
2. Patrick Reed (11, 4,731,351)
3. Tommy Fleewood (19, 4,399,755)
4. Xander Schauffele (9, 3,607,488)
5. Justin Rose (11, 3,431,616)
6. Alex Noren (12, 3,351,488)
7. Rory McIlroy (13, 3,315,654)
8. Thorbjorn Olesen (24, 3,223,149)
9. Haotong Li (26, 3,118,291)
10. Matt Wallace (30, 2,887,527)

“It’s been an incredible season,” Molinari said. “I’ve achieved more than I could ever dream of.

“I will have to sit down and assess what’s happened this year and start preparing for next year, because this is going to be very hard to repeat.”

Talking Point

“You never quite know when a win is round the corner,” Willett said in an emotional post-round interview. “I was never sure it was going to happen again.

“We battled long and hard this season to come out at the other end a better person and better athlete.

“There always are (doubts) but we got to a place where we were on the correct path. It’s been a hell of a lot of work.”

It’s been a long road back for Willett since winning The Masters two-and-a-half years ago, a victory that lifted him to a career-high 9th in the world rankings.

Since then it’s been a sorry tale of injury and illness problems and loss of form that have seen the Englishman fall off a cliff. In that time he’s changed his coach, his caddie, his management company, and he began the week as the World No. 276 – just between Canada’s Corey Conners and Brazilian Adilson da Silva.

Speaking of which…

Willett’s win will move him back into the top 100 in the rankings, while at the other end Justin Rose is back to World No. 1. Since reaching the summit for the first time in September, Rose and Brooks Koepka have been passing the baton back and forth.

Koepka, who was playing in the Dunlop Phoenix in Japan, needed a top-10 finish to retain the standing, but a tie for 12th meant he hands it back to Rose. The American can take solace in the fact it will only be for one week…

A special mention, too, for Wallace, whose 2nd place in Dubai moves him into the top 50 for the first time – just two years on from playing on the Alps Tour.

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