Five minutes with 2016 Masters champion Danny WillettApril 19, 2016 History
NCG caught up with Danny Willett at Rotherham Golf Club following his Masters victory
I’d love to sit down for a pint with Masters champion Danny Willett.
Five minutes is too short a time to form any real sort of opinion on someone’s personality, but the new king of Augusta National seems to be an everyman champion.
Willett is in his element on home soil at Rotherham. Relaxed, with familiar faces around him, the 28-year-old is engaging and warm.
This is where he goes to let his hair down, where he can just be himself.
“I’ve got a lot of friends here,” he says. “A lot of close friends and can come back now and still have a drink in the bar and just be one of the lads again and go out and have a knock.”
Being a new Major winner comes with different responsibilities.
Media from all over the country have flocked to South Yorkshire to spend a few minutes with British golf’s newest hero and the new dad is dutifully answering every question.
He’s been at it more than an hour by the time we roll onto the conveyor belt and, for a split second, I’m sure I notice a touch of tiredness in his eyes.
But when the camera starts rolling, Willett is wonderful, honest and down to earth – everything everybody says he is.
“Family and friends have helped me along the way, kept me grounded, kept me normal and kept a reality check on everything and all of that stuff helps,” he explains.
That really shines through.
It makes you want to pull for Willett, to hope he can add the Open – where he came close last year – to his trophy cabinet before too long.
Where so many sports stars are robotic when it comes to interviews, trained to within an inch of their life not to slip from the banal else a stray word is amplified to satisfy a click-bait world, it’s so refreshing to see a guy at ease with himself and those around him.
May he never change.