ASAP Sports Logo


November 17, 2015

Danny Willett

Dubai, United Arab Emirates

SARAH GWYNN: Danny, thanks for joining us this morning. Coming into the final event with The Race to Dubai second, how exciting is this week coming up for you?

DANNY WILLETT: It's good. It's a new experience, a new challenge. It's been a long, busy year. But one that's been very rewarding in many ways, and yeah, in a fantastic position to go out and do something pretty amazing.

SARAH GWYNN: Has there been one particular highlight this season or is it a lot of highlights?

DANNY WILLETT: Yeah, it's probably just a good accumulation of everything really. Started the season great at Nedbank and followed up with some great results in America and then back over here at The Open and Switzerland.

So, yeah, it's just been good to obviously play great all around the world and compete all around the world and mix it with the best and beat some of them, sometimes lose.

But yeah, just to be up there a lot of times throughout the year has given me a lot of confidence going forward.

SARAH GWYNN: And do you feel like your game is in a place where you can finish this week as European No. 1?

DANNY WILLETT: Yeah, the game is in a good place. Mind is in a pretty good place. Everything is coming together quite nicely. Yeah, just need to stay rested and stay on top of myself, really, and make sure I don't get to down on myself if things aren't going great.

Four rounds of golf, there's a lot that could happen. What you need to do is you need to be in there come Sunday with nine holes to play in a good position, either in front or not too far behind.

Q. You got that, but you have something you're announcing tomorrow, so you've got a busy week. Can you tell us what it is tomorrow?
DANNY WILLETT: No, tomorrow's just a new venture that we're looking at called Pin Seekers, but obviously will know a little bit more tomorrow when everything comes out hopefully.

Q. But are you able to keep your mind on the golf this week?
DANNY WILLETT: Yeah, I hope so. There's a lot more things going on than just little things like that. There's a lot more going on in my life to be able to keep my mind on golf.

Q. Last year at this time you were 102 in the world. Can you reflect on this wonderful progress you've made over the last 12 months, and also, in that sense, have you got nothing to lose, really, against Rory over the next four days?
DANNY WILLETT: No, I mean -- yes, when you put it like that, I had not realised how far I had come. It's been a good progression, 81st in the World Ranking, when you're inside the Top-100, is a pretty big jump. Still got 20 more spots to go, so that's kind of there.

But no, this week's going to be -- yeah, I think everybody would always like to see a little bit of an underdog try and come through. We're pretty closely matched, within 600 Euros. This week there's one job to do which is one, and if you fail at winning, just try and beat Rory.

We know kind of what we've got to do, and so yeah, it's just one of them, really, try not to let anything get in your way. Try and just prepare as good as you can and then hopefully come Thursday when we tee off, you can kind of then let all your pressures go away and just play some golf and have a bit of fun.

Q. Is that why you're looking further down the line to get to No. 1, is that the ultimate goal?
DANNY WILLETT: I don't think anybody picks up a club when they are younger kind of thinks about it. When you turn pro and you get in and around it and you progress and you see how things are, that was always a goal of mine to try and get there. It's taken me a lot longer to get to where I am in the world than I was hoping. But yeah, the ultimate goal is to get there otherwise I wouldn't be playing this game.

Q. Are there dangers of scoreboard watching over the four days and trying to work out all the permutations, were you able to stop yourself doing that?
DANNY WILLETT: I think you'll have a little peak, but that's one thing I'll probably try and not look at so much. By the same token, because there are only ten names up there, it's one of them, isn't it. You could be two or three shots off and you're thinking, oh, they must be doing this, they must be doing this. So there's probably not really much point, unless your name is at the top of it and just have a little glimpses and see where you are. Apart from that, hopefully try and keep that to a minimum.

Q. In terms of tactics, will you play your normal aggressive game out here? Will the course suit that or will you think twice?
DANNY WILLETT: No, I think this golf course needs aggressive play. Look at the score that's won it the last three years. I think it's been 18-, 22- and 24-under par. You can't just waltz around here making pars and expect that to do you any good.

I think you have to take the golf course on. And if it's your week -- like everyone in here knows, if it's your week, you play aggressive and it comes off. If it's not your week, you play aggressive and it doesn't come off. I guess you have to take that chance. And hopefully you hit the right golf shots at the right times and you get a few breaks along the way, hole a few putts, and then yeah, everything could be rosy come Sunday afternoon.

Q. You used the word "stale" to describe yourself last week. Is that the product of just a long season, and if so, how do you get rid of it and get yourself bouncing for this week?
DANNY WILLETT: Yeah, it's a tough one last week. BMW, as good of a golf course as it is, you know, the weather a bit down, the crowds aren't fantastic, and at times, if you're not in and around the top of the leaderboard, things can get a bit stale and a bit flat. And I think that's just kind of what happened.

And then I made a little deal with myself to kind of come here and just try to have a good week and try everything to put a positive spin on everything that happens and see where it gets us (shrugs shoulders).

It's been a great year and Rory and I have put a nice gap between ourselves and third. I know there's a lot of permutations and other players in the top five could win depending on certain results. But I've worked really hard this season. If I get a bit annoyed the next four days, you know, we're going to try and walk around and take everything in and enjoy kind of what we've achieved this year, and hopefully we can get that little extra push and have a really good week.

Q. Rory didn't play last week. He could come in a bit fresher. Does that worry you at all?
DANNY WILLETT: No, it's one of the things with Keith Pelley allowing Rory to come in here on a lower -- obviously playing a lower amount of events than what's required, was one of the main benefits I would have said for Rory how things panned out.

I appreciate that him playing makes a massive difference for the Tour and you have to kind of let him off with the events, but certainly he has more of an advantage over the guys who have played all three and this will be the fourth. There's a lot of travelling, a lot of golf, time changes, sleeping patterns, everything like that can really take its toll. Especially at the end of a season. At the beginning of the season, maybe not, but this is the 52nd week of the season, and I think having had a week off might have benefitted him.

But, you know, regardless of what he's been doing in preparation, we've still got a goal in mind to go out there and beat him and that's what we've got to look at.

Q. You alluded to it a second ago. Just wonder if you can expand on, there are many permutations and a lot of players could win but essentially it's between you and Rory. If you agree with that, do you think in your head, is it kind of a match-play scenario for you in your brain?
DANNY WILLETT: I think it could potentially become Sunday. I think it's difficult to play like that all week. Potentially Sunday if we are in and around each other, it could turn into that, especially if you were to play with him Sunday.

But Thursday, Friday, you don't want to play a match-play scenario where one of you shoots 70 and one of you shoots 74. It's one of them where you have to go out and it's a stroke-play event, and you just have to play your game and try to shoot a good number or as good a number of as you can shoot on that particular day.

I think come Sunday, if we are playing with each other, I think very much so, you might look at that. But I think for the general week, it's more just try to make as many birdies as possible and try to be as far up on that leaderboard as you can.

Q. You've just alluded to it there. Would it maybe rankle you if Rory were to win having not played his allocation? As things stand, I think you've played twice as many tournaments as he has?
DANNY WILLETT: I think I've played 22 or so. Rory has played 12. No, if Rory wins more money than anyone else playing less events, then that's just good golf.

There's still rules there to kind of abide by; otherwise they wouldn't make rules. If rules were allowed to be broken all the time, then there's no point in setting them in the first place. But in that case, it's a very difficult one to kind of get correct, and it was the first decision Keith had to make in becoming the Commissioner of the Tour. It's a difficult one to have to make. I think he made the correct decision.

But I spoke to him about it and I said that obviously down the line, it could be quite difficult. Obviously they have changed the Top 60 rule and it's Top 60 available players which I don't quite agree with. But we all know that if the Rory situation was to go ahead and he was to change that rule, you know there will be a few more rule changes down the line.

Yeah, I can't really say a great deal more. It is what it is. It doesn't really change how we are going to approach this week. You can't really think about it. So we're just going to go out there and try and win.

SARAH GWYNN: Danny, thank you. Have a great week.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

ASAP sports

tech 129
  1. Recent Interviews
  2. FastScripts Archive
  3. Upcoming Events
  4. About ASAP Sports
  5. Contact us