Willett's Masters win costly for Ferguson

2016-04-12 13:17
Sir Alex Ferguson (Supplied)
Sir Alex Ferguson (Supplied)

London - Danny Willett's astonishing Masters triumph cost Alex Ferguson £8 000, but the legendary former Manchester United manager was still happy to congratulate the shock champion.

Ferguson, who jetted out to Augusta to watch all four days of the tournament, had backed Jordan Spieth to win and appeared on course to cash in as the American established a comfortable lead in the final round on Sunday.

But defending champion Spieth collapsed over the last holes, with a disastrous 12th proving especially costly as the unheralded Willett charged up the leaderboard to become the first Englishman to win the Masters for 20 years.

Ferguson's light-hearted frustration at missing out on a pay-day was revealed when television cameras captured his meeting with Willett during the 28-year-old's post-victory celebrations.

Ironically, Willett is a fan of Manchester United's arch rivals Liverpool, but Ferguson put that, and his lost winnings, to one side as he congratulated the first Briton since Nick Faldo to don the famous green jacket given to the Masters champion.

"I had £8 000 on Spieth!" Ferguson told Willett, prompting the new world number nine to laugh and say "oh, sorry".

Ferguson was quick to show he was only teasing.

"I'm so delighted. I'm so delighted honestly. Happy to throw it away," he said to Willett.

"You need to know where to put your money!," Willett said with a smile.

Ferguson, a big golf enthusiast who gave a pep talk to the European Ryder Cup team at Gleneagles in 2014, relished the chance to witness Willett's victory in person.

"If you can experience something like that in a golf situation, the Ryder Cup or tonight, they are special moments, you can't beat that," he said.

"I'm very fortunate in my life to be able to retire and go and see that. If I had been manager of Man United, I wouldn't have been here. Simply because my job was more important.

"But I'm privileged, having retired and done this today, it's fantastic."

Willett was due to fly back to England on Monday for more celebrations with his family, including his brother Peter who became a Twitter sensation for his excitable tweets as his sibling closed in on his fairytale success.

"We were having a quiet drink, seeing him move up the scoreboard, seeing him getting better and better - it was really enjoyable," Peter Willett told the BBC.

"I started sending out a few tweets just to see what kind of reaction I got because that's the kind of guy I am.

"Then Spieth did what he did on the 12th and it just went insane."

Ranked outside the top 100 as recently as November 2014, Willett isn't used to the spotlight and said he was looking forward to some peace and quiet with wife Nicole and their newly-born son Zac once the champagne corks finally stop popping.

"We had the usual Masters celebrations up at the club house with the Augusta members and I had a good few friends back at the house and we continued having a good time right up until the early hours," he told ITV.

"It's still not sunken in about what we've achieved and what it means. I'm looking forward to being at home with my family and letting it sink in properly with close family.

"We're on a flight later on today, as early as we could get out with all the commotion. 

"I'm looking forward to getting home and locking the door and throwing the key away for a week and turning my phone off and enjoying spending time with Nic and Zac."

Read more on:    masters  |  alex ferguson  |  danny willett  |  golf  |  soccer

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