Danny Willett’s golf may’ve suffered in the 18 months since his Masters win, but his candor hasn’t.
A player blog authored by Willett appeared on the European Tour’s website Wednesday, with the post being Willett’s in-depth look at his own struggles since capturing the Green Jacket in 2016.
Willett writes at length (and we mean AT LENGTH), but then again there has been a lot going on since his first major title. The Englishman has yet to win since, changed swing coaches and developed back issues. Willett was in contention last month at the Portugal Masters, only to finish T-68. Willett hasn’t had a top-50 finish since March and has missed the cut or withdrawn in eight of his last 13 starts.
So yeah, Willett has had some tough times. But he went deep regarding his thoughts on it all.
In the post, the 30-year-old went in detail on how unprepared he was for the attention after his Masters win and the trials that brought:
“What’s funny is that we, as golfers, spend so much time practicing for those moments, working on our swings, those chip shots, pressure putts, how to deal with being in contention mentally but no one ever really prepares you for what happens next, after you achieve greatness like that. Ultimately I’ll be able to look back on that day and be thankful for all that it has given me but it’s not always easier dealing with the aftermath.”
“After the Masters, every time I went to the range, every time I was on a putting green or in a practice round, there were cameras on you and everything’s being filmed and recorded. That magnifies everything to the nth degree. People that know me, know that I wear my heart on my sleeve and if I’m having a bad day on the course, I’ll show it and if I’m playing well and everything’s great in the world, you can tell. That’s just who I am. When the spotlight was on me constantly, I felt I had to dull that side of me down a little. It’s much harder to show some of that emotion, good or bad, when everyone’s eyes are on you.”
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Willett went on to talk about how golf can seem easy when things are going well, but that some don’t understand he’s still working his tail off when everything is falling apart:
“They don’t know that I’ll get up at 5.00am to get some practice in or hit the gym before my son wakes up at 6.30 and I need to help my wife with him. They don’t know that I’m still working my nuts off in the gym and on the range only to go out and shoot a 75.”
Willett later noted that a low point arose when he “couldn’t even hit the golf course” in August at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, and his dad relayed to the golfer that he seemed unsure. That’s when Willett decided to switch coaches, moving on to Sean Foley.
As for Willett’s back issues, he said those came up in the first place because he was swinging poorly. He detailed how the injury became supremely frustrating:
“It was annoying as working out didn’t hurt it, drills didn’t hurt it but firing into the ball at full speed and just being a little off could cause a lot of pain. It ended up taking over my game as I’d be taking painkillers in the morning after waking up in pain, getting an hour of physio before each round, playing the round with a swing that hurt, then needing an hour of physio after the round. I was just knackered.”
There’s much to breakdown in the post, which you can read in full here. At the very least, it is a candid look at what happened to a guy who looked so good at the Masters and has seen his game tumble ever since.
Willett clearly isn’t giving up, though.
“I know I’ve achieved something that 99 percent of players will never get to experience but there is still a lot I want to do.”
Opening up on struggles can be a cleanser. It’s a good step, now Willett has to build on it.