April 10, 2016
THE MODERATOR: Ladies and gentlemen, my pleasure to welcome our 2016 Masters Champion, Danny Willett.
Danny, awesome day. Your wife gave birth ten days ago, you were the last person in the field, I think, great 67 today. Awesome. Just tell us how it feels right now.
DANNY WILLETT: It's just crazy, just surreal. You know, words can't really describe the things and the emotions. You're so much involved in what you're doing when you're on the golf course and, like you said, you do something special, and it still doesn't sink in quite what you've achieved.
I've won a couple of golf tournaments around the world, but this is‑‑ this is just a different league. It's a major. It's the Masters.
Yeah, it's going to take awhile, I think.
THE MODERATOR: Well done, congratulations.
Q. When Jordan Spieth ran into difficulties, you didn't appear to be affected by nerves or tension at all. You just coasted home. How were you able to do that?
DANNY WILLETT: We've been good mental this week. Been going through good processes. This golf course can jump up and bite you whenever. Even today, it was relatively flat calm compared to the last few days, but there was just enough there to flicker around to cause a few problems.
You never feel comfortable on this golf course until you finish and sign the card and posted a number. So yeah, we knew we still had a job to do. At the time we were still only 4‑under par and he had only dropped back to one, so there's still plenty of holes for him to catch up and keep chasing.
So it was really timely birdie on 16, and then again to make contact up 17 and 18 with what goes on and to hit such a nice chip that I did on 17, yeah, it's just them things.
You practice, that's what you do, endless hours chipping, putting, hitting shots, imagining hitting shots at certain golf courses at certain times. And fortunately enough today, I've been able to relive some of them dreams and some of them practice sessions.
Q. Only a wife knows what you go through to get to this point. Can you share a little bit of the conversation with you and Charlotte and how good is it to be Danny Willett today?
DANNY WILLETT: Who's Charlotte? (Laughter) Ssshhh (laughter).
Yeah, she is. My family, my mom and dad and my brothers obviously know the hours I put in when we're all at home living together.
And then over the last five years since I've met Nic, she's gone through a lot of up‑and‑downs. When I first met Nic, I was injured badly with my back and I was taking a lot of time off, and she thought it was all rosy me being at home at six months a year. She's been through thick and thin, long practice days, being grumpy when things aren't going your way. Traveling the world, as beautiful as it is, it's tough living out of a suitcase and going from hotel to hotel and never really having a proper base.
So yeah, as brilliant as this game is and as much as the rewards it gives you, any single person pro can tell you there's a lot of hard work that goes on behind the scenes, and it's the things that regular don't really see, they don't see the work you put in, not just on the golf course but off it with certain aspects, gym, nutrition, all these things. And obviously to balance your life of actually doing normal things.
It's all good and well practicing for 12 hours a day, but I don't think that's going to get you many brownie points if you've got to do the dishes, change the little one's nappie and do other things like that.
Time management, weighing everything up and making sure that you're not only are you trying to be a great golfer, but you're trying to be a great person, husband, father, all that stuff, as well.
So yeah, she only really, I guess, truly knows what's gone on and how hard I've worked over the last few years to come to this point.
Q. What did she say to you?
DANNLY WILLETT: She said, "Well done." The line was a bit crackly. I'll obviously call her after this if she's still awake. I'm sure they will be. I guess you just‑‑ I've got massive thanks for everything that she does for me. You know, take this little green jacket back for her.
Q. Your pairing today with Lee Westwood, did that make you more comfortable? You're good friends; was that an element that added to your comfort level out there?
DANNLY WILLETT: Yeah, it's great. I've played a lot with Lee over the last couple of years since joining ISM. One of the things I think they have helped me do is obviously play with the likes of Lee and Darren and be comfortable playing around such great players. Very good friends with Billy, as well. So yeah, I couldn't have asked for a better pairing, really, for a Sunday in a major when you're both in contention.
We both played some great golf. And like I said before, it was one of them things where it's just been my day. We didn't really do anything majorly wrong, and didn't have a bogey today, which going around this golf course in any conditions is pretty spectacular. We were kind of egging each other on to do well.
And I'm delighted for Lee. It would be good for him to finish second on his own, and hopefully this is a springboard for him to get back to being the great player that we all know he is.
For myself, it's been a great day. To be able to experience it and do it with friends is extra special.
Q. Was it walking off 15 that you saw that Jordan had made the quad and you saw it go up? Can you walk through what went through your brain and how you dealt with that tee shot on 16, obviously very well?
DANNLY WILLETT: Yeah, obviously looked at the board, I actually heard everyone, you know, grunting and moaning or whatever they do to the scoreboard when the scores go up. He obviously had a terrible run, 10, 11, 12, which basically put it right back in anyone's hands. And fortunately enough, I was able to seize the opportunities and knock it in close on 16 and take a two or three shot over Westy.
So yeah, you know, again, I come back to I've been fantastic mentally this week going through my processes, realizing that each shot is its own separate thing and trying to just go through with the correct process and pull the shot off. Luckily we dropped on some really good numbers today. This golf course is tough enough if you're trying to hit shots in between to firm greens, but luckily we dropped in some good numbers down the stretch which allowed us to be really aggressive and hit them shots.
Q. When you saw the 1 go up next to his name when you turned around, did you‑‑
DANNLY WILLETT: I was waiting for someone to, as a little joke, to put a 7 back up there (laughter).
It was one of those things, you know, that hole will do it. It's one of the toughest par 3s in golf. Again, it's probably played easier the last few days with it being so windy because you know the wind is there.
But today there was a five, six, seven‑mile‑an‑hour breeze, and when you hit a shot of 145 yards, or knock it long if you get the wrong side of it, it's a treacherous little par 3.
I mean, yeah, it's just one of them unfortunate things that happened to Jordan which obviously opened it right up.
Q. Well done. I know you said it's still sinking in and I appreciate that, but what do you think of the thought of having a tee time here at Augusta the next 30, 40 years?
DANNLY WILLETT: (Broad smile) yeah, hopefully I can be sat here again at some point in my life would be fantastic. Again, I can't put it into words. To win golf tournaments on Tour is what we dream of doing, you know, on the PGA and on the European tours. It's what you practice for and it's what you play for. But you dream about these kind of days and things like that, but for them to happen, there's four a year, so to actually be sat here, it's still mind‑boggling, the fact that we have been able to come through everything that's happened and play so well under the pressure that we did on the back nine today, to be able to sit here with a green jacket on and obviously chatting to you guys.
Q. Pete Cowen said to me earlier in the year is that one of the things that you have the ability to be comfortable in uncomfortable situations, which is very rare. Do you agree with that and how do you do that?
DANNLY WILLETT: Yeah, obviously Pete Cowen and Mike Walker, who coach me, you work at uncomfortable things. Every time you go to the range, you're not going there to get a pat on the back and tell you how good you're doing. You go there to try to get better to try to get that half, that one percent better and I think in doing that, and actually trying to accomplish perfection‑‑ sorry‑‑ makes you uncomfortable.
To actually delve into how you swing it, certain aspects of your game that you might not like, but to try and improve, that makes you uncomfortable. And a person, nobody likes being told that they don't do something good enough.
So I think then realizing that you've got to work on certain aspects of your game and come to the uncomfortable realization that you're going to have to work very hard at it, kind of helps you through these times.
Today was one of them where I feel like I've done enough work and hit enough balls under their supervision; each shot that I was faced with, I just went through the same process and tried to remind myself of golf shots that I hit on the driving range when you're in practice.
Fortunately enough, we came through.
Q. What was the thinking with taking the top off and revealing the green shirt on the 18th?
DANNLY WILLETT: I was warm (laughter) is the genuine reason. No, I had been hot all day right in between, but when the breeze comes through it's quite cold. I was literally just‑‑ I was quite warm, plus I thought a little bit of the green looked better than white (laughter).
Q. The other thing, was your dad here?
DANNLY WILLETT: No, no, it was my father‑in‑law was here and then obviously plenty of friends from back home. Obviously when I made the decision that I was going to come, everyone, the people that I was originally going to bring with me said, Is everything still on, are we going to the Masters or are you not playing.
Fortunately, yeah, I was playing and it turned into a fantastic trip with really close friends that made the trip with me. My father‑in‑law, he came last year, as well. He keeps telling me the story that he was ‑‑ my mother‑in‑law was in labor with Nic when Sandy Lyle won, and it's her birthday today day back home, on the 11th of April. It's just been brilliant, the people I've had around me. Unfortunately, my mom and dad couldn't be here and Nic and little man, he can't fly just yet. I'm just looking forward to getting home and being able to celebrate with them.
Q. It's obviously unusual for a player to come here just having become a father again so close to the Masters. To what extent did it affect your preparation, and do you think in future you will look back and say, it was actually a good thing?
DANNLY WILLETT: Yeah, you can. I mean, preparation‑wise was not poor but it wasn't as much as I would have liked to have done coming into a major championship. I finished‑‑ I didn't obviously do that great at the Match Play and flew straight home and then had Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday just doing nothing, helping Nic, make sure she's all right. Obviously she had an operation to deliver Zach, so I was just at home making sure she was all right, changing nappies, making bottles, doing everything normal that a dad with a new son does, making sure that everything at home was fine so that I could come here with a clear mind, knowing that I had done enough back home and Nic was going to be all right this week.
And then I started hitting balls again Friday. I had a lesson Friday, a lesson Saturday, and again took time off Sunday to spend time with Nic and Zach and flew out here late Monday night, we were the last guys in, number 89. Someone told me that Nicklaus was 89 the year he won in 1986.
So yeah, it's just been, yeah, preparation wasn't as good as possible, but still had two good days getting to know this place.
Fortunately, I had done my homework last year. We played the golf course probably four or five times last year in preparation for the first Masters I played, and I think that put me in really good stead knowing that I had the books from last year and I knew where are the places to go, where not to go, and then just put full faith in the decisions that me and John made and made some good swings.
Q. How do you sum up a ten‑day period where your life is changed forever; is this the ultimate double‑eagle for you?
DANNLY WILLETT: It is, yeah. Yeah, again, words can't describe it. It's been crazy. I'm not quite sure which is better, this day or last Tuesday. They are very, very, very close there. I'm don't know which one I should say to be politically correct.
Q. Last Tuesday.
DANNLY WILLETT: Exactly. I always said that I wouldn't come here if he wasn't born by now, which stuck. Fortunately enough, listened to my prayers and he came early. But yeah, it's just been the most ridiculously awesome 12 days I guess. You can't‑‑ the words can't describe what I'm feeling right now, but words definitely can't describe how I was feeling last Tuesday when you get to hold, you know, something that me and my wife have made. It's just been incredibly surreal.
Like I said, I'm just looking forward to getting back home and spending some time with them.
Q. There's been speculation on social media at home already about what you might choose for the Champions Dinner menu next year. Any thoughts on that?
DANNLY WILLETT: I have no idea. I haven't even thought about it just yet.
Q. Roast beef and Yorkshire pudding?
DANNLY WILLETT: It could be quintessentially British, I guess, followed by a couple nice bottles of red. Yeah, it's one of them things that it's a fantastic thing to be able to choose and do, and to be able to host.
Everything that comes with this fantastic golf tournament, you know, from now onwards, it's brilliant, the feeling that I've got right now but it's the fact that everything that goes with it and with the rich history of this place that's going to make it more special.
Q. While you're out there at that green jacket ceremony celebrating your greatest golfing moment, it was unusually agonizing for Jordan Spieth there next with you. Could you empathize with him and did you all talk and what did he say?
DANNLY WILLETT: Yeah, you can empathize. He's played great golf all week. He's second now in career people to be leading the Masters. He obviously plays this golf course incredibly well, he's had a 2, a 1 and a 2 and a 3 as he's played it. Today what happened was just a bad beat. Them things happen in golf. You don't want it to happen in the situations that it happened in for himself. It was one of them.
I just feel fortunate that I was in the position that I was to pounce on the opportunity to accomplish it. If I had been 5‑over par, then it wouldn't have mattered what Jordan had done. Fortunately I was in a position where we were in second place playing quite nicely and as a result of him doing what he did, we were able to stay at the lead.
He just said, "Really well played." He shook my hand like the true gent he had. He said, "Really well played, awesome play today." He's a class act to be able to hold face and stuff as he did, obviously hurting like I imagine he would be, just shows the character of the guy that you're going to have up and around the world No. 1 spot for the next many, many years.
Fortunately enough, I'm going to be able to be in that category and playing alongside him.
Q. Maybe a little strange question, but you have a Swedish mom and a Swedish flag on your bag. Have you ever thought of representing Sweden?
DANNLY WILLETT: A few times when I couldn't get in England squad when I was an amateur, yeah (laughter). No, it's one of them where I'm 50/50, half and half, and hopefully doing it for both nations.
THE MODERATOR: Like to ask you in a minute the clubs you hit into each hole, but before I do that, I want to make a quick comment, this is the last interview that we'll have in this room. There's a new press building being built which will be open next year. So it's historic in more ways than one, and I just want to thank everyone here for everything you've done in this building and we continue to hope that you'll continue the good work you've done and join us next year in the new building. So thank you all very much.
If you wouldn't mind, please, just going through hole‑by‑hole the clubs you hit into the greens, we would be very grateful.
DANNLY WILLETT: Yeah, No. 1 was a wedge from 145, I think we had straight downwind.
No. 2, we hit in the left trees and had to chip out. We hit 8‑iron in from, I couldn't even tell you, 154, it was, back in the breeze.
Hole No. 3, we had 114 in. Hit 52‑degree wedge.
Hole No. 4 was playing 217 out of the left. We hit a high‑cut 5‑iron.
Next hole we were in that left‑hand bunker from 157 back in the breeze and hit 8‑iron.
The par3 down the hill is 181, I think it was playing today. Again, high‑cut 7‑iron.
Hole 7, we had 157 yards back in the breeze. Hit 8‑iron.
We hit 5‑wood from 264 on eight.
We hit it in the left trees on 9. I tried to hook a 6‑iron up near the green and fortunately got it right where we were trying, somewhere near pin‑high up the right.
In 10, we had 191.
6‑iron down 10.
11, hit 179, hit 8‑iron.
12, 144 or 145 and hit wedge.
13, we had 203 and hit 5‑iron.
14, we had 154 and hit 9‑iron.
15, we had to chip it through the trees and had 88, lob‑wedge.
I think it was 175‑ish, was it, on 16 and hit 8‑iron.
160 up 17, hit 8‑iron.
Then we had 183 up the last and hit 7‑iron.
THE MODERATOR: Danny, thank you so much. Again, 2016 champion, well done.
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