Willett Roars Back: A Masterful Return

Danny Willett, the former Masters champ, was over the moon after his stellar opening round at Augusta National, defying doubts about his readiness following shoulder surgery.

With seven birdies and three bogeys, Willett’s comeback was nothing short of spectacular, especially since he teed up earlier than expected. It’s like he never missed a beat at the scene of his first Major win in 2016.

Pete Cowen, Willett’s long-time coach and our trusted columnist, wasn’t surprised by the performance. He had been raving about Danny’s form and recovery, even though Willett himself wasn’t entirely sure what to expect.

Read Pete’s latest column here:


“I had no idea what to expect,” Willett said. “It’s always nice to come in having shot a decent score and just give yourself that little bit of confidence inside and hopefully have a nice few more days.

“I played 27 holes on Sunday, woke up the next day, no pain, no nothing and that was when you think all right, even if you play bad, I think it’s still worthwhile taking the risk and at least pegging it up and feed off people’s energy around here and hopefully have a few good days.

“Nice to birdie three of the last four holes instead of posting an all-right score, which would, again, for me have been an amazing achievement, but to shoot 68, yeah, really happy.”

Willett had feared he would be side-lined for a year by the surgery, but felt it was the right decision to give him the best chance to extend his career by another 10-15 years.

“I obviously couldn’t lift anything for the first six, eight weeks and then in January it was getting to where I could do all right, somewhat swing a club properly, but the strength was there.

“It was only then, to know we’re not going to re-injure it, we really pressed on in January, and we had a really, intense few months.

“I had some great people around me, and we did some great work and put the hours in, and again, I could have shot 80 [today], but it was still nice to have the ability to peg up and not be in pain.”

“From where I was seven, eight, nine months ago and previous, to be able to play pain-free is a pretty nice thing.”

Share this article
What's in the bag
Swing Sequence

Brian Harman Swing Sequence

By Jonathan Craddock, PGA Professional, Pete Cowen Academy The 2023 Open...

Wyndham Clark Swing Sequence

By Jonathan Craddock, PGA Professional, Pete Cowen Academy One of the...

Related articles

19 hours ago

Lowry leads by two at The Open following tough second round

Ireland’s Shane Lowry holds a two-shot lead at the midpoint of...
1 day ago

Dubai-born Rayhan Thomas set to tee it up at International Series England

Dubai-born golfer Rayhan Thomas is set to tee it up at...
2 days ago

Major debutant Dan Brown cards stunning bogey-free 65 to lead The Open on day one

In the fading light, Major debutant Dan Brown sank a birdie...