Ailing Danny Willett doesn't mince words on state of his game

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Ailing Danny Willett doesn't mince words on state of his game

PGA Tour

Ailing Danny Willett doesn't mince words on state of his game

How did Danny Willett sum up his 2017 British Open?

“It was amazing,” Willett told The Telegraph. “There’s nothing quite like teeing off at 7:55 on the Sunday of an Open. It really gets your blood flowing.”

Willett, of course, was being sarcastic. He went off with a marker in the final round and ended up 76th out of the 77 players who made the cut at Royal Birkdale. It was just the second time he’s made the weekend in his last eight worldwide starts, as Willett has either withdrawn or missed the cut six times during that stretch because of a lingering back injury.

The 2016 Masters champion has fallen to No. 43 in the world.

“(Expletive),” Willet said Sunday at the Open when asked about the state of his game. “It’s just frustrating. Every time you feel you are getting somewhere with it you take another two steps back. Before you know it, you feel you are 10 steps further back than you were a few weeks before.

“The Masters was 13 months ago. I’m still the same person, but the golf’s not in the same place.”

Just how far away is Willett? “(Expletive) miles,” Willett said. “A long way away. It feels a long way away. Golf shots are a long way away. Mental is a long way away. Scoring is a long way away.”

Willett saw a back specialist and underwent an MRI the week before the Open. The results of the MRI weren’t promising.

“The L5 (disc) and the sacrum were out from the x-ray which is why it hurts when I rotate on it,” Willett said.

He was put on the pain medicine Voltarol as he spent five days on his back. He only started hitting balls the Friday before Open week. The Open was just the first tournament that Willett has played all four rounds of since the WGC-Mexico Championship in March. He has withdrawn three times in two months.

Is surgery on the horizon?

“I don’t know,” Willett said. “I’d do anything that helped. I don’t think it does need surgery. It’s more just getting it in line, and the only thing that irritates it massively is swinging poorly.”

Willett plans to take a week off before playing the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and PGA Championship. He also has some Rolex Series events coming up on the European Tour calendar.

“In an ideal world we’d have taken a few months off,” Willett said, “but it’s a time of year when you need to be playing well.”

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