Made in South Yorkshire: ‘Inspirational’ Danny Willett’s Masters victory ‘no surprise’ for club-mates

Rotherham Golf Club captain Steve Mulligan talks about Masters-winning member Danny Willett
Rotherham Golf Club captain Steve Mulligan talks about Masters-winning member Danny Willett
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Danny’s Masters victory was made in South Yorkshire.

From the early days discovering a passion for golf with his family and PE teachers to his rise through the county’s ranks to national and international competition, his potential was clear to most.

Rotherham Golf Club chairman Chris Allen with Danny Willet's photo and golf bag in the clubhouse

Rotherham Golf Club chairman Chris Allen with Danny Willet's photo and golf bag in the clubhouse

His late-night victory was watched by fellow members of Rotherham Golf Club, which Danny joined as a teenager. Club captain Steve Mulligan said his ‘fantastic’ victory was not a great surprise.

“Lots of people expected it to happen,” he said. “Many people have had a little bit of a wager on Danny. This is not a surprise. He was 12 in the world, he represented Great Britain and Northern Ireland in the World Cup. He’s won professional competitions.

“You need a little bit of luck, don’t you? But yeah, we expected it. Maybe not last night, but we expected it, and it’s a fantastic result for the club and for Danny.”

The latest recipient of the famous green jacket still finds time to visit his club for practice rounds. Danny occasionally takes part in curry night tournaments, even winning the bumper jackpot of £13 recently.

“It wasn’t quite the £1.2m he’s picked up for the Masters but it was all right,” said Steve.

The club has many young members, and Steve said Danny’s victory would be a great example. “He’ll always have his photograph taken with the young members, and he’s an inspiration to them,” he said. “I’ve had quite a lot of junior members post their pictures of Danny on my Facebook account today, which I think says well for the lad.”

Danny was coached at Birley Wood Golf Course. Andy Carnall, golf manager for SIV, which operates the course, said: “It’s hard to sum up just how big of an achievement it is. It doesn’t seem that long ago that a young Danny was making his way around this course and learning the game. We cannot express how proud we are now to see him join some of the sport’s biggest names by receiving that historic green jacket. His Masters triumph is fantastic news for both the sport and for Sheffield. Not only do we have Danny, Sheffield’s newest golf star Matthew Fitzpatrick came in seventh and Worksop’s Lee Westwood was runner-up.”

Danny was a pupil at The City School, now Outwood Academy City, in Normanton Spring, Sheffield. His former PE teacher Nick Clayton said: “When great sports people and coaches speak about what it takes to reach the top they use words like courage, commitment, belief, determination and a desire to learn.

“These are all attributes that Danny Willett had in abundance. He was always willing to try new things, he would always focus on what he had to do right now rather than what he could achieve in the future.”

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