Danny Willett gets taste of his new life as Masters champion
DANNY WILLETT got a taste of life as a major champion as he returned to flash bulbs and autograph hunters at Manchester Airport.
The Masters winner touched down on English soil on Tuesday morning after an overnight flight from New York and walked through the arrivals hall wearing his green jacket. Willett had to run a gauntlet of photographers and well wishers before starting the final leg of his journey home to South Yorkshire to see wife Nicole and baby son Zachariah.
The 28-year-old was far from a household name before taking advantage of Jordan Spieth's collapse to become the first British player in 20 years to win the Masters: "It's a nice way to get back into the airport," he said with a smile.
"It's been pretty big in America but until you get home I don't think you can quite realise the scale of what's going on."
More of the same was awaiting Willett at home, while a motion was tabled in Parliament congratulating him on his success, but he was confident of taking it all in his stride: "The more you say it and things like this happen you start to realise just what we did and everything that's going to go with it," said the new world number nine.
"Hopefully we just take it in our stride and enjoy what we've done. We've had a lot of encouraging messages from really nice people around the world offering advice if I need it so we've got a lot of good people on our side. I think we'll be alright. When you're out on tour it kind of happens anyway but it just changes things a little bit in normal walks of life, hopefully not too much so we can still have some fun and normality."
Willett had expected to miss the Masters because Zachariah was not due until April 10 but he arrived early on March 29, allowing his father to be at the birth before flying to the US. Willett is now looking forward to some family time and adjusting to life both as a new parent and Britain's newest sporting superstar.
"It's still a bit crazy, everything's still up in the air but I think it'll start slowly sinking in," he said.
"I've got a couple of hours left then hopefully we'll be able to go home and lock the door. I'm looking forward to spending time with Nic and little man and just enjoying what we've just done. Watching it over, seeing the reruns, and going back to being a dad. Got to change some nappies. It's been a tough week obviously leaving him when he was only just born. We've been in contact a lot but I'm really looking forward to getting back now."
Willett revealed sleep rather than celebrations were the order of the day on the plane, and soon he will turn his attention to trying to build on his Masters success. His rise has been swift - from outside the top 100 at the end of 2013 to the top 10, with four titles along the way.
Willett insisted nothing would change in his approach to golf, saying: "We'll just keep doing the things we've been doing, ticking the boxes we said we'd do day by day and making sure we're trying to get better every time we go out and work.
"That's all you can do. If along the way fortunately you play some good golf and win some more tournaments then fantastic but we're just going to keep doing all the things we have been doing and hope things continue."