Sheffield golf champ birthday boy has little to celebrate

Green jacketed Masters champ Danny Willett
Green jacketed Masters champ Danny Willett
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Reigning Masters champion Danny Willett will have enjoyed better birthdays than today's.

Pride of South Yorkshire, he turns 29 on the back of self-confessed s*** Ryder Cup rounds, already embroiled in controversy by his brother's stinging criticism of "baying" US crowds.

Danny, born in the city with two other brothers to vicar dad Steve and Swedish-born teacher Elisabet, achieved in April first major championship, becoming only second Englishman to win Masters Tournament (revisited here) and first European in 17 years to conquer Augusta National.

But he suffered weekend to forget after winning just two holes from 54 and failing to win single point from three Ryder Cup debut sessions that saw Europe beaten 11-17 by vengeful USA.

Elaborating on blunt criticism of his performance, he conceded it was "really s***".

And, having originally apologised for brother Peter branding American fans "baying mob of imbeciles", criticising his column as "bad article written at a bad time", he has since seconded that confrontational stance.

Sheffield star golfer in the making

Sheffield star golfer in the making

Speaking on social media, he said: "Tried my best but played poorly," adding "Unfortunately some American fans showed that @P_J_Willett was in fact correct. Still shows that sometimes fans don't know when to call it a day. Shame really."

2005 saw Danny leave behind his Sheffield life to attend golf scholarship at Jacksonville State University in Alabama, juggling rounds with gym visits and schoolwork.

Two seasons he completed there marked start of meteoric rise to fame, and fortune, that would see him win most coveted championship eight short years after turning pro.

He was in 2008 rated gold world's top amateur world before turning professional, earning his European Tour membership after completing qualifying school. First major competition, 2010 BMW PGA Championship, saw him finish fifth to pocket 190,800 Euros prize money.

Award-winner Danny with Star head of sport Bob Westerdale

Award-winner Danny with Star head of sport Bob Westerdale

June 2012 witnessed his European Tour victory debut at BMW International Open in Cologne, marking start of string of tournament triumphs including 2015 WGC-Cadillac Match Play third place finish and same year Omega European Masters win.

He described this year's Masters success, taking advantage of arguably worst final round collapse in the event's history to become first conquering Brit in two decades, as “surreal”.