Mas­ters Cham­pion Willett laments down­turn

The Sun (Malaysia) - - SPORTS -

MAS­TERS CHAM­PION Danny Willett (right) has dropped out­side the top-10 on the World Rank­ings and ad­mits an end-of-sea­son down­turn in his game could not have come at a worst time.

The 29-year old Willett has en­joyed just two top-10s since be­ing fit­ted last April with the famed Au­gusta Na­tional mem­bers green jacket.

Willett’s frus­tra­tion boiled over last Sun­day af­ter fin­ish­ing in a dis­tant share of 68th place in the Turk­ish Air­lines Open at Belek in Tur­key.

Two days ear­lier he tweeted af­ter a sec­ond round 74: “Well this game is re­ally kick­ing me in the nuts at the minute!! If it’s not thing it’s an­other. Haha.”

Willett had jour­neyed to Tur­key ly­ing sec­ond on the Race to Dubai and need­ing to fin­ish fifth or higher to move back to No. 1 in the rank­ings, and a place he has en­joyed since his Ma­jor Cham­pi­onship tri­umph.

And Willett was so an­noyed in post­ing a last round 75 in Tur­key his im­me­di­ate re­ac­tion was to with­draw from this week’s Ned­bank Chal­lenge at Sun City in South Africa and the sec­ond of the three Euro­pean Tour Final Se­ries events.

“It couldn’t hap­pen at a worst time,” he said in ref­er­ence to his poor run of form.

“Things are not just go­ing our way, noth­ing feels great.”

Since fin­ish­ing sec­ond in Septem­ber’s Ital­ian Open Willett missed the cut in the Al­fred Dun­hill Links Cham­pi­onship, that in­cluded a third round 76, while he lost the No. 1 rank­ing to Hen­rik Sten­son in slump­ing to 75th place in the fol­low­ing weeks WGC – HSBC Cham­pi­ons event.

Willett’s scores over the four days in Shang­hai were 74, 78 and a pair of 75s and a far cry from the su­per final round 67 he shot to win the Mas­ters.

His poor show­ing in Tur­key has now seen Willett drop a fur­ther place on the World Rank­ings to be now ranked No. 11.

This is the first time he’s been out­side the top-10 since mov­ing from 12th to ninth in win­ning the Mas­ters.

In fair­ness to the Sh­effield-born golfer he is un­der­go­ing swing changes un­der the guid­ance of long-time coach, Peter Cowen.

“It just comes and goes as I would have a cou­ple of good days and then a cou­ple of bad days,” said Willett.

“To be hon­est I don’t re­ally want to be out there play­ing golf.”

Willett’s name still ap­pears in the en­try list among those com­pet­ing this week at Sun City and his man­age­ment com­pany in­di­cated he’s ex­pected to take his place in the $US 7m.

Also in the South African field is new Turk­ish Air­lines Open win­ner Thor­b­jorn Ole­sen who jumped from 32nd to ninth on the Race to Dubai fol­low­ing his three-shot tri­umph in Belek.

Ole­sen’s vic­tory has also seen leap-frog 23 places to be the new World No. 69.

Triple Ma­jor win­ning Padraig Har­ring­ton be­lieves af­ter Ole­sen col­lected a fourth Euro­pean Tour vic­tory, the next step for the 26-year old could be rep­re­sent­ing Europe in a Ry­der Cup.

Ole­sen had been in­vited by one of four Euro­pean Ry­der Cup vice-cap­tains in fel­low Dane, Thomas Bjorn to join the team at Hazel­tine as part of a learn­ing process for Ole­sen.

And it was this ex­pe­ri­ence Har­ring­ton be­lieves could lead to Ole­sen be­com­ing only the sec­ond Scan­di­na­vian player to win a Ma­jor Cham­pi­onship.

“When you are that close and watch­ing other play­ers as Thor­b­jorn was at Hazel­tine, I am sure he could see he is every bit as good as them and in some way bet­ter, and that could only have helped him,” said Har­ring­ton.

“I think it is a good learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ence for any­body, to be around in a sit­u­a­tion like that with the best play­ers in Europe play­ing in the Ry­der Cup.

“You are around them all week and you see their strengths and weak­nesses and you un­der­stand you have strengths and weak­nesses and maybe not to be fo­cussing on your own weak­ness so much be­cause you can see that no­body’s per­fect.” – AFP

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