If victory at the 2016 Masters will always be Danny Willett's most important race, his triumph in Dubai on Sunday could be the most significant.
In general, Willett's success in the DP championship world championship did not come without a dramatic element. He walked to tee 72 with a two-stroke lead. His tee shot clung to his life on the brink of a water hazard; The player himself thought that the ball was wet. Instead of summarizing Willett's last 31 months, he was denied an uninvited walk to the trophy.
With a broader context in mind, Willett was not likely to be disturbed. His trials and tribulations since claiming the green jacket have been linked to a back injury as well as to the form. In one stage, it slipped to 462 in the world ranking.
When he spoke of being in a "very dark place" there was no exaggeration. He wondered sometimes if his career had longevity. Externally, there was sniping; Willett was portrayed harshly as a great marvel in one fell swoop, a tone of analysis that erroneously ignored his progress before the events at Augusta National. He even had to endure his brother's unwanted written meditations as he prepared for a debut in the Ryder Cup. This response, after so much agitation, was excellent.
"It has been hard," said Willett. "I am massively proud of myself and everyone who has been around me. You never know when a victory is just around the corner and with all the things that have happened, I was never sure if it would happen again.
"We have fought long and hard during this season to come out at the end, no matter what happened today, a better person and a better athlete, it's a special place, it's been a lot of work and it's good to be back."
An indication that it may be Willett's day arrived early. Having started the fourth round in a part of the lead with Patrick Reed, he converted a 40-foot eagle putt into the second. Reed was fighting; The reigning Masters champion played his first nine in two over par.
He answered as expected, with four birdies in six internal holes. The 17th in the Course of the Earth, as so many times the case shows, was definitive. While Reed wasted green on the left, from where he could call only one bogey four, Willett produced a magnificent iron up to 5 feet.
His two allowed him to breathe, now by two over Matt Wallace, who even in the last knock he could not make up.
The total of Willett with less than 18 years assured a victory of two strokes. Reed closed with a birdie to share in second place with Wallace, the Englishman who has enjoyed an excellent season on the European Tour. Adrián Otaegui, Dean Burmester and Jon Rahm shared the room with minus 14.
In a day of multiple prizes, Francesco Molinari was surprised as the winner of the European Tour merit order long before the tournament reached its conclusion. Tommy Fleetwood had to win to stop Molinari, but the champion of Race to Dubai closed with a 71 for a part of the 26th.
In an endearing look, Molinari was one of the first to congratulate an emotional Willett when he left the green final.
At the end of a year in which he was crowned champion of the Open before his heroic acts in the Ryder Cup, Molinari was a perfect winner of the Race to Dubai. "It's incredible," he said. "Now I'm going to have time to sit down and relax and really think about the last few months." This morning, on the first tee, the announcement: "The Open Championship winner, leader of the Race to Dubai," does not sound real.
"It's more than I've ever dreamed of achieving, I've seen players that I think are better players than me, not winning big titles or winning the order of merits." Achieving those things in a single season is simply incredible.
"You look at the players who have won the Race to Dubai and it is only the best players who have done it.
"It means a lot because it's a race that lasts the whole season, in a week you can beat anyone, you can have your perfect four days and win a tournament, but winning something like that obviously shows how good the season has been.
"Ideally, it would have been nice to have come here in better shape and close it in a better way, but I think Tommy and I are really exhausted after a very long season." I am very proud."