The Open: Danny Willett on hunt for his Masters form

Danny Willett speaks to the media at Royal Troon
Danny Willett speaks to the media at Royal Troon
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Masters champion Danny Willett admits he is trying to rediscover the game which won him the Green Jacket as the knock-on effects of winning at Augusta have impacted on his form.

In the six events he has played since lifting his first major in April the Sheffield golfer has missed three cuts and managed just three rounds in the 60s in 16 attempts.

But among that mediocrity was a third-place finish at the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth in May and while he has missed the cut in his last two events, a similar thing happened 12 months ago coming into The Open and he finished joint sixth at St Andrews.

Willett has been enjoying his summer after receiving invites into the Royal Box at Wimbledon and the paddock for the British Grand Prix, as well as fulfilling numerous commercial and sponsorship obligations, but acknowledges there has to come a time when the only thing to do is knuckle down.

“A lot of guys when they start struggling sack the caddie, sack the coach, sack the putting coach, get a new psychologist,” he said ahead of The Open at Royal Troon.

“You’ve probably got to scratch that and go back to basics and realise what got you there in the first place.

“Have a pretty brutally honest conversation with yourself with what you’ve been doing.

“Are you working out enough? Have you been putting enough time in? Have you been dedicating yourself properly and going back through?

“We’ve had a couple moments in the last month or so where we’re trying to get back on track now with getting back up and working as hard and for longer hours than what we have done in previous months, previous years.

“But it’s a juggling act trying to juggle everything in and around.

“You see what the top players in the world are doing on a day-to-day basis and you take your cap off and realise how good the work they do has to be with the time restrictions that they would have with stuff like that.

“You’ve got to strip it back and just build it back up again and make sure you’re working hard and for the right things.

“You need the brutal honesty of good people around you. If you’ve got a good enough team around you they can pat you on the back when you’re doing well and give you a little kick in the rear when you’re not actually working hard enough but think you’re working hard enough.”

Having won one Major the challenge is to turn that into multiple wins and not get stuck on the 133-strong current list of one-time champions.

Much is made of the fact once you have got over the line once in one of golf’s four premier tournaments it should help when it comes to contending again.

However, Willett does not believe that is necessarily the case.

“If anything (it’s) probably a bit tougher because you know you’ve done it and played well and competed and won against the best guys,” he added.

“It’s a tough one now to make sure that you get back to the place where you were before you actually won and try to not have too much expectation on yourself every day you go out.

“Otherwise it’s a pretty lonely game when things aren’t going your way and you struggle a little bit because all you can do is reminisce about how well you played a few months ago.

“You have to make sure you keep ticking the boxes like we’ve done for the last two years and then hopefully come Thursday morning we’re ready, prepared and ready to go then you can perform like you’ve been able to do.”