Welcome back Danny Willett.
After two years of abject misery, the Englishman is a winner again. Victory in the $8 million DP World Tour Championship, Dubai is Willett’s first win since slipping on the Green Jacket after winning the 2016 Masters.
The 31-year-old began the European Tour’s final event of the 2018 season tied for the lead with Patrick Reed, but returned a closing 4-under 68 to post an 18-under 270 total to finish two shots clear of Reed and fellow countryman Matt Wallace. Defending champion Jon Rahm shared third with compatriot Adrian Otaegui and South Africa’s Dean Burmester.
Willett picked up $1,333,330 for his sixth European Tour win. Reed and Wallace earned $694,840 each.
“It’s been a lot of hard work,” said an emotional Willett. “It’s been tough. I’m just massively proud of myself and everyone that’s been around me.
“You never quite know when a win is around the corner and with all the things that have happened, I was never quite sure if it was going to happen again.
“To happen here at the end of year, we’ve battled long and hard through this season to come out at the end, regardless of what happened today, a better person and a better athlete. It’s a special place.
“It’s been a hell of a lot of work and it’s just nice to be back.”
Willett reached a high of ninth on the Official World Golf Ranking in October 2016, shortly after making his Ryder Cup debut at Hazeltine. He sank to a low of 462nd this May as he fought swing problems and injuries. He arrived in Dubai ranked 276th, but will move back inside the top 100 with this win.
The former Walker Cup player finished second on the European money list in 2015 and 2016. Indeed, he entered the final event of both seasons with a chance to finish European No. 1. He sank to 96th last year while in the depths of his despair. He turned up in Dubai ranked 53rd and finishes the year 20th in the European food chain thanks to his comeback victory.