Sheffield golf hero Danny Willett out for up to a year

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Danny Willett is using the same steely qualities that made him a Masters champion to overcome a painful injury that has been hampering his career.

The Sheffield-born Rotherham Golf Club member underwent a shoulder operation a few weeks ago and is resigned to being out of the sport for "a hell of a long time."

But the 36-year-old is employing the same grit and determination needed to secure a green jacket at the Augusta National, back in 2016.

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And Willett - whose father was a vicar and his mother a Barnsley comprehensive school maths teacher - believes he can return to golf as good as ever.

Danny Willett  and family Getty imagesDanny Willett  and family Getty images
Danny Willett and family Getty images

He had been forced to pull out of the Irish Open with the injury and is sharing his journey towards fitness on his Instagram page.

The "long road to Rehab starts NOW" he wrote.

"I wanted to try to document and share some of the work I’ve been doing post-surgery…Feeling positive about the journey ahead and can’t wait to be back out there soon."

In a video on the social media site, father of two Willett, who joined Rotherham GC as a teenager in 2005 and went on to become the world's number one amateur, said: "I have had a lot of injuries in my career but this shoulder wasn't allowing me to do what I wanted to do.

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Danny Willett with TV's Dan Walker together for the Sheffield Children's Hospital charityDanny Willett with TV's Dan Walker together for the Sheffield Children's Hospital charity
Danny Willett with TV's Dan Walker together for the Sheffield Children's Hospital charity

"I couldn't practice as long as I wanted to, I couldn't train the way I wanted to, ultimately then you don't play the way you want to. "

Initially, he'd thought he'd suffered one tear in his shoulder, but it turned out to be two.

At that point, he decided to go for a "mini shoulder MOT" where the surgeon "cleared stuff out."

The procedure seemed to have worked well - which is music to the athlete's ears, given his recent history.

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Danny Willett  Getty imagesDanny Willett  Getty images
Danny Willett Getty images

"I have been struggling with it for a while," said Danny, who lives in the Rotherham area.

"It kind of got to a stage where I could maybe play two, three, or four holes, and then something would go and it would just hurt."

He'd have the sensation of pins and needles in his hand and his grip strength disappeared.

Danny used anti-inflammatory products to dull the pain but then plumped for going under the knife.

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"It was a big decision because it is a hell of a long time that I am going to be away from competitive golf," he said.

Losing, potentially, a year in the middle of his career was deemed better than only having three or four years left and not being able to play after that, he said.

On a positive note, he said that if he was off the course for a year he would make it a "good 12 months" and come back stronger and fitter than ever.

His plan was to "come back ready to compete better than ever before."

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If he could mirror some of the highlights of his first 13 years of professional career then he would be "pretty happy".

Danny's shoulder specialist said injuries of this kind can often limit performance up to 20 per cent - which can be the end-game for athletes.

But the aftermath of the operation was showing good signs that the joint would be moving freely quickly.

Over the next few weeks they will be looking for "a fuller range of motion."