European Tour star Danny Willett looks ahead to Hoylake
What were your first impressions of the course at Hoylake and how much did you know prior to the tournament?
I’d never played there until a couple of weeks ago. It was in great condition and a little bit slower and softer than it will be when the tournament starts. Everything’s shaping up to be a fantastic event and the atmosphere is going to be brilliant around there. It’s not on the biggest bit of land, there’s loads of grandstands and you’re going to get a really good atmosphere in and around the place.
How has your preparation been?
We’ve prepared well and I’m hoping that the body stays in decent nick and we have a good week. I’ve had a couple of issues in my lower spine, with things being just a little bit out of line. I’ve seen physios and trainers and I’ve ended up seeing a chiropractor now which seems to be working. Technically things feel great and mentally I feel pretty good. A lot of it for me is being able to match it all up at the same time, in the same week along with the body not getting in the way. There’s been a few times where I’ve been playing great golf but I’ve had one or two days out of the four where my body hasn’t felt great. In Abu Dhabi this year I shot a course record on the Friday and then on the Saturday my back twinged, shot 2 over and couldn’t really get it around the golf course due to the injury. So it’s just one of those things that gets frustrating but you’ve got to take the positives from it.
If I go there with my game in good shape and my mind fresh and feeling ready then I can compete and we can win anywhere we go. How has the season been so far?
Consistency wise I’ve been up there. We’ve not missed a cut yet, we’ve had to withdraw from two events with back injuries after about five holes but apart from that we’ve made every cut, had two top-5s, two top-10s and it’s been as solid as you could want. Obviously getting in the US Open was nice and we’re back up to top-100 so I’ll potentially get in the US PGA so that would be three Majors for the year which is always nice. After the Open we’ll see where we are in the rankings and hopefully it will be top 100 and then we can prepare for the US PGA and then come back to Europe after that and get into that Final Series with a really strong finish.
Is that your main goal for the week, to boost world ranking points?
World ranking points are good at The Open but you can’t think about it too much. You need to have a good finish to potentially move up but I know that if I go there with my game in good shape and my mind fresh and feeling ready then I can compete and we can win anywhere we go.
Do you have any superstitions on the course?
I always play 1s on a Thursday and 2s on a Friday. I’ve stopped playing 3s on a Saturday because every time I pulled out a 3 I played badly, and the 4s on a Sunday. If you’re playing well in a week you get superstitions in the week, so you’ll try and do the same things and keep it as routine as positive to not let your mind wander.