Danny Willett: ‘Major courses set up for big hitters’

Former Masters champion Danny Willett believes course selection for major championships is "playing into the hands" of the big hitters like Brooks Koepka.

By The Newsroom
Monday, 20 May, 2019, 18:08
Danny Willett

Koepka claimed his fourth major title in his last eight starts by successfully defending his US PGA Championship title at Bethpage after almost letting a record seven-shot lead slip from his grasp.

The 29-year-old American ranked only 44th in driving accuracy over the four rounds, but was third in driving distance and used his enormous power to get himself out of trouble when he tangled with the course's fearsome rough.

"If these are the golf courses that the PGA and USGA are going to continue to use it's playing into the hands of 10 guys," Willett told Press Association Sport.

"Mentally you can be as good as you like but if you don't hit it 330 yards you're going to be a long way behind the 8-ball.

"We hit a great one down the first on Saturday and you go online afterwards and see people hitting it much further and think 'Huh, it's a little bit easier from there.'

"But that's just how it is, that's the attributes that Brooks has got. You've still got to hit it straight and he does.

"He's turning himself into an unbelievably good player in big tournaments because the set up of the big tournaments is right where he likes it. He now has nothing to prove to anybody so he's in a pretty comfortable place."

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Willett has known Koepka since he played on the European Tour after graduating from the Challenge Tour, and even treated the new world number one to a night out in south Yorkshire.

"My caddie Sam (Haywood) caddied for Pete (Uihlein) when he and Brooks were hanging round together and we spent a good bit of time together," Willett added.

"Brooks came for a night out in Sheffield - we took him to some terrible establishments and he stayed at the Jury's Inn with Sam!"

Koepka admitted the sound of the fans turning against him worked in his favour as he held his nerve to claim back-to-back US PGA titles.

Koepka took a tournament-record seven-shot lead into the final round at Bethpage and was still six clear with eight to play, only to bogey four holes in succession and see Dustin Johnson close to within a single shot.

By this stage, the raucous New York crowd were firmly on Johnson's side and were chanting "DJ, DJ."