Willett hoping for upswing in form for Masters defence

By David Beddows | 13/03/2017 0 comments

Willett hoping for upswing in form for Masters defence
Danny Willett speaking during a press briefing at Rotherham Golf Club

DANNY Willett intends watching a re-run of his Masters triumph as he gears up for his big date back at Augusta next month.

And he says: “I want to get back to where I was – and it's proving to be a bit of a struggle.”

The 29-year-old pitched up at Rotherham Golf Club for a press briefing and the scale of media present, from CNN to Sky, shows how his profile has sky-rocketed since his out-of-the-blue triumph 12 months ago.

Willett speaking to the Advertiser's David Beddows

The pressures of being Masters champion have weighed heavily on Willett, as they have on previous winners, and he will travel out to the States still trying to get his game back into the shape it was when he became England's first Masters winner in 20 years.

He's settled into being a dad to baby son Zak, whose arrival just before Augusta was the first part of a life-changing double whammy.

So much has happened since but Willett will spend some of the time between now and the start of his title defence on April 6 reminding himself exactly what he achieved and taking confidence from it.

Speaking exclusively to the Advertiser in the champion's famous Green Jacket, Willett said: “I'd like to think the last year hasn't changed me too much.

“Obviously the little man coming along and being a dad has changed things massively and I've grown as a person maturity-wise but within the ups and downs of a year you probably always remember the downs rather than the ups, which is a shame.

“I think over the next three weeks it's going to be a case of getting some hard work done and maybe watching a little bit of what I did 12 months ago and trying to get the confidence back of what I did achieve.

“Golfing wise, I am trying to get back to where I was and it's proving to be a bit of a struggle.

“I'm just trying to enjoy a year of being Masters champion and in a few weeks' time I get to go back there and try to defend and see how I get on.”

Hard though his struggles have been, taking in the Majors as well as last year's Ryder Cup and the Rio Olympics, the last 12 months have been a character builder.

Willett outside Rotherham Golf Club following his Masters win last year

“Being able to achieve something like winning the Masters and performing under pressure, it does build your character but at the same it knocks you down a little bit when things don't go your way,” he says.

“That's the game we choose to play. Unfortunately in our game you are always in the public eye and being watched and if things don't go as planned then a lot of people have their own little say of what they think is going wrong.”

Willett will have wife Nicole and Zak with him in Augusta, helping keeping him grounded while he goes about the serious business.

“Obviously at Augusta you have all the stuff that goes with it – you have the dinner, you have the cocktail events, you have the drive, chip and putt and the par 3 and everything pulls together for that week to be what it is,” he added.

“I'm obviously looking forward to going back as champion and all that goes with it. That week is going to be pretty special.”

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