CHARLOTTE — Danny Willett should be one of your new favorite golfers after this. The 2016 Masters champion is a genuinely nice guy, and on Friday on the PGA Championship, he showed why he’s so popular among his peers.
Here’s what happened: A two hour weather delay meant that the second round of the championship would fall just short of being finished.
With the horn due to blow at 8:15 p.m. (sundown), Danny Willett and his two playing partners Louis Oosthuizen and J.B. Holmes were just finishing up their 17th hole of the day, and looked like they’d have to come out to play their final hole of the day first thing tomorrow morning.
Nobody wants to do that, but there’s a small loophole in the rules of golf which makes it preventable: if play is suspended due to darkness, players have the option of finishing the hole they’re currently playing. Oosthuizen, at five under, was vying for the lead at this point, while Holmes was hovering just inside the cutline.
That’s where Willett came in.
Guaranteed to miss the cut, he rushed ahead to the group’s final hole of the day and bunted an iron 210 yards — leaving himself more than 280 yards on the lengthy 505 yard par 4. It was not in his best interests to hit that shot, but in doing so, he gave his playing partners the opportunity to finish that hole, rather than wake up at 4 a.m. the following morning to play one hole.
It proved decisive: The horn sounded almost immediately after Willett hit his shot, but Oosthuizen and Holmes opted to finish the hole anyway, thus sparing themselves an extremely early morning on Saturday.
It didn’t go unnoticed on Twitter: