Danny Willett has opened up about the struggles he has faced since winning The Masters 18 months ago.
In a candid and heartfelt blog for the European Tour’s official website, the Sheffield golfer admits he was falling out of love with golf during the battle for form which followed his career-defining triumph in Augusta in April 2016.
The 30-year-old discusses the intensity of the spotlight which fall on Major winning players, his split with long time caddy and friend Jonathan Smart, not wanting to play and battling against his long-term back issues.
Though he lays bare the struggles he has faced, Willett insists he will never quit the fight to get back to his best form.
“All I can say is I’m working hard to ensure things go up,” the Hackenthorpe-raised golfer said.
“I know I’ve achieved something that 99 per cent of players will never get to experience but there is still a lot I want to do.
“I’ve never won the Race To Dubai having come close twice. That’s something I want to do.
“But ultimately, I want to know that every day I spent working on this game I was working to get better and never gave up.
“It’s not easy but that’s golf and that’s why I love it.
“I’ve had a strained relationship with it in recent months and there were times I felt I was falling out of love with the game but at the end of the day I’ll never stop loving this game and I won’t let a few poor results stop me from working to get better.
“Ultimately I’m a husband, I’m a father – I have another kid coming in December – and I have a Green Jacket hanging up at home.
“I’m pretty lucky and I never forget that.”
What resonates throughout the blog is that Willett is grateful for his lot in life and not wallowing in self-pity.
He talks of his gratitude for the support, understanding and kicks up the backside from wife Nicole and also writes about how having his father to lean on during the Bridgestone Invitational got him through one of his most difficult times on a golf course.
But he also provide insight into those dark moments.
He wrote: “At the end of 2016 I was in contention in the Race to Dubai and I just didn’t want to play golf.
“Think about that. It’s utterly ridiculous.
“I had entered the HSBC Champions in China, Turkey, Nedbank and Dubai – four of the biggest tournaments of the year – and I didn’t want to play.
“I just didn’t feel good enough to compete.”
There is a note of optimism from the Rotherham Golf Club member as he speaks of his confidence in work with new coach Sean Foley.
He said: “I said I would change whatever he thought I needed to change to get better.
“For two or three months now we’ve looked at everything in my game and worked endlessly on getting better.
“I didn’t play great at Quail Hollow but I had spells during that week that showed me that what I’m doing is working.
“It’s hard when you’re on the range before a round at a Major and your swing feels strange. It feels new and uncomfortable.
“To take that on the course and try and commit to it is hard but I saw enough there to want to keep working on it and I feel I’m on a really good path now.”
To read Willett’s blog in full click HERE