2017 Masters

9. Danny Willett proves that repeating at Augusta is hard

Danny Willett

The good news for Willett is that he can view this from a glass-half-full perspective. The defending champ always has to put the green jacket on the back of the newly crowned winner. It didn’t get much more awkward than Spieth, who had just choked the tournament away, having to put the jacket on Willett’s back in 2016.

The ceremony between Willett and Garcia was nowhere near as awkward. In fact, Willett was practically giddy to help Garcia don the famous jacket.

Willett — the 2016 champion — shot seven-over through the first two days and missed the cut. He became the first defending champ since Mike Weir in 2004 to miss the weekend.

But while we expected Willett to be a part of the festivities on Saturday and Sunday, his performance was only a mild disappointment.

Much was deservedly made of Jordan Spieth’s collapse in 2016. But in reality, the fact that Spieth was so close to repeating last year was a minor miracle. Tiger Woods was the last repeat champ at Augusta, winning in 2001 and 2002. Other than Spieth and Woods again in 2006, no other defending champs have come terribly close to repeating since Tiger’s successful bid.

If nothing else, we can let Willett’s 2017 tournament serve as a reminder. Winning any golf tournament two years in a row is hard. Winning the Masters in consecutive years is even more challenging. It’s something to remember when we’re looking at Garcia in 2018.