Danny Willett tempted to bring forward full-time return after impressive Masters

By Sports Desk April 16, 2024

Former champion Danny Willett admits he is tempted to accelerate his planned return to full-time action following an impressive comeback in the Masters.

Willett had feared he would be sidelined for at least a year following shoulder surgery in September last year but recovered sufficiently to return to the scene of his 2016 triumph and carded a superb opening 68.

The 36-year-old was also level par for 17 holes in extremely difficult conditions in Friday’s second round before an untimely triple bogey on the 18th, but comfortably made the halfway cut and went on to finish in a tie for 45th along with defending champion Jon Rahm.

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“Mentally it’s been really tough this week and maybe a little bit of that came in towards the end,” Willett told the PA news agency.

“But the body feels good, shoulder feels really strong so now I’ve got another seven weeks off to go and do the work that we need to do to progress before we come back properly.

“If you said at the start of the week that you’re going to have some really good spells and you’d finish 45th you’d have probably taken it, so there’s some good things to work on.

“The 68 in the first round was fantastic and the last couple of days could have been three or four shots better without being crazy.

“We played with two guys who won this year on the PGA Tour [Austin Eckroat and Stephan Jaeger] and we weren’t sure how it’s going to be but you come in and you don’t feel like you’re leaps and bounds behind them.”

Asked if he was now tempted to add tournaments to his schedule, Willett added: “It is tempting, it’s really tempting but my manager’s going to speak to the guys and see what happens with the medical stuff.

“They’ve always told me to not come back too early because you don’t really gain anything in terms of your medical exemptions and things like that.

“There’s still no rush. The main plan was the European Open in Hamburg in seven weeks.

“That’s the only one I’m entered into and I don’t think there’s any reason to compete before that unless I feel a burning desire or Nic [wife Nicole] kicks me out of the house because I’ve been home too long.”

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