Saturday, April 29, 2017

Can Willett repeat his 2016 success?

Danny Willett has been steadily climbing the world rankings ever since his maiden European Tour victory at the 2012 BMW International Open in Germany.
Although it was two more years before he returned to the winner’s circle at the 2014 Nedbank Challenge in South Africa, the 29-year-old then claimed the Omega European Masters the following year, before securing the Dubai Desert Classic in February 2016.
The Yorkshireman’s stock had risen to the stage where he qualified for his second trip to Augusta, having finished in a share of 38th on his debut in 2015. He was not among the favourites to claim the Green Jacket, but took full advantage of Jordan Spieth’s back-nine meltdown during the final round to win the year’s first major.
That propelled the Sheffield-born ace to superstardom and it was hoped that, having reached the world’s top 10, he would push on even further to challenge for more majors.
However, Willett’s form then began to tail off and, despite finishing third at the BMW PGA Championship and second in the Italian Open, he looked out of sorts and was never much of a factor when making his Ryder Cup debut at Hazeltine.
But, despite a downturn in form, his 2016 campaign will be remembered for the first few months, which saw a memorable Masters’ victory and all that comes with it.
History has been littered with players who have fallen by the wayside after a spell of glory, with US star David Duval’s name one that leaps off the page in that respect. After a string of top-10 finishes in the majors, he won the Open Championship in 2001, only to fall off the radar and into obscurity over the next few years.
There is nothing to suggest that Willett’s career will go down the same route, as he has already managed a top-five finish in Malaysia this year, and has been making all the right noises about returning to his best.
One thing in his favour is an honest approach to his game and, while Tiger Woods seems to trot out the same old soundbites about how he will still break Jack Nicklaus’s record of 18 majors despite his injury woes, Willett admits his form has dipped and he has many things to work on. And work appears to be the key word, as the world number 17 has a desire to win more silverware and is prepared to put in the hard graft to get back to his best.
Having turned professional in 2008, the former Walker Cup ace was not an overnight success and so appreciates what it takes to win a tournament and is not one to rest on his laurels. He is talented enough to win another major but with so many good youngsters in the game at present, it will not be easy. With so many talented players currently these free golf tips could be useful in helping punters decide which star to bet on.
But, short term, Willett needs to start contending in European Tour events once again, however low-key they might be compared to Augusta, to get the feeling back of how to close out a tournament. He must take small steps and even just making the cut and playing with the big boys at the weekend could be seen as a confidence boost.
Momentum in any sport is key, and it might only take a round or two for his game to come back and, while there may be no more majors on his CV when the dust settles on the 2017 season, it seems inevitable that Willett will be a force once again.

The post Can Willett repeat his 2016 success? appeared first on Golf News.


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