Sheffield golfer Danny Willett ‘still miles away from my best’ after final round 71 at The Open

Danny Willett during day four of The Open Championship at Royal Birkdale Golf Club, Southport. Photo  Peter Byrne/PA Wire.
Danny Willett during day four of The Open Championship at Royal Birkdale Golf Club, Southport. Photo Peter Byrne/PA Wire.
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Former Masters champion Danny Willett admits there is no light at the end of the tunnel despite playing all four rounds of The Open at Royal Birkdale.

The 29-year-old Sheffield man, who in April became the first reigning champion at Augusta to miss the cut since Mike Weir in 2004, has struggled with a back injury which has severely hampered his form.

He carded a final-round 71 to finish nine over par at The Open, but even though he managed to play a full tournament for only the second time since the WGC-Mexico Championship on March 5, there were few positives for Willett

“It is still painful. You obviously know what you can do and what you can achieve when you are fully fit and swinging well.

“And when you are not fully fit and swinging well, you can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel,” said Willett, who was first man out and played with a marker - fellow Yorkshireman and Birkdale assistant professional Nick Jennings.

“When the swing is a bit dodgy the back starts to hurt and you make compensations: it’s just a bit of a vicious cycle.”

Asked how far he thought he was from regaining some form, he added: “Many miles, a long way away.

“Golf shots are a long way away. Mental is a long way away. Scoring is a long way away.

“Golfing-wise it is obviously not quite there and feelings are changing day-to-day with what I am trying to do.

“I’m going to work with Pete (Cowen, his coach) and see if we can get a few things ironed out.

“I have got a week off before Akron and the US PGA, so I have got two really big tournaments before a two-week break coming up.

“I have really got to have a look and see what we can do next week and make sure we get more out of it.”