Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 14 December 2019

DP World Tour Championship: Danny Willett returns to scene of his stunning comeback victory

Englishman looks back with pride on 'special moment' when he ended a 953-day winless streak in Dubai last year

Back at the scene of one of his greatest triumphs, both personal and professional, Danny Willett wears an obvious smile and a mind burning with possibility.

It’s easy to see why. The Englishman returned to Jumeirah Golf Estates on Tuesday, home to his incredible comeback victory 12 months ago, when he snapped a 953-day winless drought with a two-shot victory at the DP World Tour Championship.

Coming that long after his major breakthrough at the 2016 Masters, a period beset by injury and introspection, Willett saw off in Dubai his successor at Augusta, Patrick Reed, and the defending champion, Jon Rahm, among others.

Little wonder he didn’t mind reminiscing.

“We weren't sure if we were going to win again with all the injuries, and it was nice to come back and do it on such a big stage against such a great field,” Willett said.

“Obviously, coming down the stretch with Patrick and Jon Rahm posting scores, just to prove to myself that when I get in contention, I'm pretty good at closing out golf tournaments. And obviously after everything that happened, it was a pretty special moment, especially with all the family here and friends.

“Any win in your career is a pretty special moment. But the bigger the event and the bigger the emotion, always makes it feel even better.”

Willett, 32, has since landed another sizeable one, coming out on top in September’s BMW PGA Championship, the European Tour’s flagship event. The world No 31, now fully fit and flourishing under coach Sean Foley’s guidance, is clearly confident.

So much so, that he feels capable of playing better golf than he did to secure the Green Jacket three years ago.

“You look back there, and Augusta was obviously my week, and that doesn't always happen on Sunday on a back nine,” said Willett, one of 50 players competing this week in the $8 million (Dh29.3m) Race to Dubai finale. “Playing-wise, I think I could potentially be better than what I was then.

“Very different ball flight; very different golf game and very different outlook on probably what is a good or a bad day or how things go.

“So as a whole, the potential is there to be better. Whether that means you're going to win anything else, no. But what we're doing, the potential is definitely better.”

Updated: November 19, 2019 03:38 PM

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