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Monday, 06 August 2018
Danny Willett  (Getty Images)
Danny Willett (Getty Images)

Former Masters Tournament champion Danny Willett is relishing testing himself against the strongest field in golf at the US PGA Championship as his comeback gathers momentum.

Willett reached a career-high of ninth in the Official World Golf Ranking after claiming his first Major title at Augusta National in 2016, but had slumped outside the top 450 earlier this year after suffering numerous injuries and a loss of form.

A missed cut in the HNA Open de France was his ninth in 12 events in 2018, but the 30 year old bounced back to finish sixth in the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open, 19th in the Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open and 24th in the 147th Open Championship.

That result at Carnoustie was his best finish in any Major since the 2016 Masters and a welcome further boost of confidence ahead of the final Major of the year at Bellerive Country Club.

"I'm actually going there really looking forward to taking on the challenge of a US PGA," Willett said. "I've never performed that well at a US PGA because my game probably wasn't suited for those types of golf courses.

"So I'm really excited to go and see where I'm at right now and playing in an event that I think is a very tricky one to win because you've got probably the best field in the world with the top 100 guys (in the OWGR) being there."

All of a sudden the injuries crept up on us pretty quick - Danny Willett

Willett credits coach Sean Foley - who formerly coached Tiger Woods - and fitness trainer Kev Duffy for his resurgence and coincidentally first started working with Foley at last year's US PGA at Quail Hollow.

But he admits it has been hard work to get to this point after having to overcome injuries which left him struggling to get out of bed in the morning before he could then make significant changes to his swing.

"I imagine I've been a horrible person to be around at times purely because you're working so hard and it was so abrupt how it happened," Willett added.

"I reached the top in professional golf in winning a Major and perhaps should have won back-to-back Order of Merits and all of a sudden the injuries crept up on us pretty quick.

"The fact it's taken such a long time was because I was making such very different moves.

"In my head I've been doing something one way for 15 years and at first it felt like I was picking up the club left-handed with the changes we were making.

"But after doing it for six weeks and getting rid of all the injuries I then really bought into it.

"I get on with Foles and he's an incredibly upbeat man and around that time it was exactly what I needed."

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1KOEPKA, BrooksUSA18-16
2WOODS, TigerUSA18-14
3SCOTT, AdamAUS18-13
T4CINK, StewartUSA18-11
T4RAHM, JonESP18-11
T6PIETERS, ThomasBEL18-10

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