Danny Willett: BBC Sports Personality 2016 contender

Danny Willett
BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2016
Date: Sunday, 18 December. Venue: Genting Arena, Birmingham. Time: 18:40-21:00 GMT. Coverage: BBC One, Radio 5 live, BBC Sport website

We are showcasing each of the 16 contenders in the run-up to the Sports Personality of the Year award on 18 December. Today - Danny Willett and Max Whitlock.

Danny Willett - Age: 29 Sport: Golf

Year in a Nutshell

Claimed a shock Masters win to become the first Briton to triumph at Augusta in 20 years.

Willett, from Sheffield, had been a doubtful starter, with wife Nicole due to give birth on the final day, but he played after the early arrival of baby Zachariah.

He won the Dubai Desert Classic in February, finished second in the European Tour's Race for Dubai title, and made his Ryder Cup debut.

How he got here

Danny Willett pictured aged 17 at Graham Walker's coaching camp
Willett, pictured here aged 17, finished three shots clear of Jordan Spieth and Lee Westwood at the Masters

The son of a Church of England vicar, he started out playing a par-three course in the middle of a sheep field.

After leaving school at 16, he then quit a local college course to play golf for Jacksonville State University in Florida.

In 2007, he won the English Amateur Championships, and turned professional the following year.

Four years later, while ranked 204th in the world, Willett won his first European tour title at the BMW International Open at Cologne.

He triumphed at Augusta in only his second appearance at the unforgiving course - and all this despite his practice schedule being disrupted after the birth of his child.

Victory helped him climb from outside the top 100 to inside the top 10 in less than two years.

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Danny Willett's best shots as he won the Masters

What he said: "You talk about fate and everything that comes with it. It's been crazy."

What you say

Richard Ashworth: "In any other year, (well, any year before the last decade) the Masters champion would be an automatic winner @Danny_Willett."

Puppyfeat: "@Danny_Willett For the money you won me when I backed you for the Masters, you're my #SPOTY mate."

Lester Cullen: "He's a Masters champion. Insane achievement."

Sports Personality record: First nomination. Two golfers have won - Dai Rees (1957) and Nick Faldo (1989) - while the runners-up have included Rory McIlroy in 2014.

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