ALL credit goes to England’s Danny Willett for his victory at the Dubai Desert Classic on Sunday – a win which elevates him to No13 in the world rankings and provides a major boost to his hopes of making a Ryder Cup debut at Hazeltine in September.
It was a fantastic finish to the tournament and I was so impressed with the coolness he showed to hole a 15-foot putt on the 18th with two guys – Andy Sullivan and Rafael Cabrera-Bello – waiting in the stalls for a play-off if he missed.
Willett is 28 years old so is no spring chicken but he is a real competitor and has a very strong game. He is a big hitter and he is a good wedge player. He will be a great match player and a real birdie-machine -- perfect for the Ryder Cup.
He spoke in the aftermath of his victory about the desire he has to make the European team and that was great to hear. It was a big decision to play on the European Tour and not the PGA Tour, given the world ranking points available in America.
But Willett, who finished second behind Rory McIlroy in last year’s Race to Dubai, is so high up in the rankings over here already – No3 in the European Points list – that he’s virtually guaranteed to make the European team so it was a good move.
Another player I would like to see make the Ryder Cup is Spain’s Cabrera-Bello, who finished tied for second with young Andy Sullivan, a three-time winner last year, in the desert.
I feel sorry for him at times because he has not been a prolific winner but always seems to be there or thereabouts. However, I thought he played really well down the stretch and that’s a big step for him. I’m convinced we’ll see more from him in the future.
Crossing over to America, it was a great play-off win for Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama at the Phoenix Open. He beat Rickie Fowler, who broke down in tears after missing out on his first win in front of his family. I find Fowler really endearing and a breath of fresh air. He is becoming a superstar of world golf and he showed a different side to him there.
Sam Torrance OBE is a multiple Ryder Cup-winning golfer and media commentator. Follow him on Twitter @torrancesam