May 10, 2016
DOUG MILNE: Like to welcome Danny Willett to the interview room here at THE PLAYERS Championship. Thanks for joining us. You're making your second PLAYERS Championship start and first start back on the PGA TOUR since the win at the Masters awhile back. So congratulations on that, and just a few comments on being back here at the TPC Sawgrass.
DANNY WILLETT: Yeah, it's a great event. I've always watched this one on television. It's only my second time, getting used to it still, so we only played -- I missed the cut last year, so we came off of a third place at WGC Match Play and we were really tired and just struggled to get to grips with things.
We went out and played nine yesterday, and we're going to go out and play some more today. Just a great golf course, fantastic crowds. Obviously 17 this year, the standard is going to be high. It's going to be a awesome week, and so, yeah, just looking forward to kind of getting back in the swing of things actually and actually playing some golf, which I haven't done that much of in the last four weeks.
DOUG MILNE: We'll take a few questions.
Q. Could you give us a Cliff's Notes of basically what you have done because you won the Masters that you wouldn't have done if you hadn't won the Masters.
DANNY WILLETT: Drunk more. (Laughter.)
No, I've been -- I was going to -- I was going to take a few weeks off and actually go on a holiday and just relax, take the little one away and just do normal things, but it's just been obviously a bit of chaos back home with media interviews and stuff, so it's not really been a quiet -- the quiet four weeks I was expecting. And in a good way, obviously, so yeah I guess that's the only thing that's really changed. The idea was to kind of get prepped and ready for a really busy spell now going leading up to the next couple of Majors.
Trying to obviously keep the points going for the Ryder Cup team and the Olympics and stuff, and luckily we have -- with what we did at Augusta, that's kind of all but pretty much sealed up, so, yeah, we just -- I don't know, it's just been a busy four week to whatever it was supposed to be, and now it's quiet for a week, so not a great deal has changed. Still a bit of downtime in there but not playing as much golf as I would have liked back at home, and that was obviously for various reasons, so, yeah, it's good to be back with the guys and practicing, and hopefully we can get off to a good start this week.
Q. What's the most interesting thing you've done in the last four weeks?
DANNY WILLETT: Most interesting? Changed a lots of nappies.
Q. I said interesting.
DANNY WILLETT: That is interesting. Depends on what you're doing. (Laughter.)
We haven't really done a great deal to be honest. In terms of that, we have -- every single spare minute that we have had, we have locked the door and tried to just have some alone time. We have obviously had to go up and down and do media bits with the jacket and stuff, which have been pretty cool, and speaking to different people about things. But interesting. I've I don't think I've done anything too --
Q. I'm hearing stories about laps around a snooker table. What about that?
DANNY WILLETT: No, that's just playing snooker with the lads. We don't do laps around the tables. I don't take the jacket to the snooker club.
Q. Now that you've coming off the Masters win, do you bring a different mindset to a big tournament like this and do you have a different approach and a different way to that you look at this course and the way you play here?
DANNY WILLETT: No, the approach is always the same. I got my little checklist of things I want to try to do day-to-day to achieve. Around this golf course, it depends on the weather, the scoring's usually not too daft. Last year I think -- I can't remember, but I know that 5-under was in the top-10 and stuff, so the scoring is not stupidly low around this golf course. It's very tough. So no, I don't think you approach it differently at all. I'll approach it the same as I approached Augusta, as I approached the week before that, and do the bits I can do and take care of my little jobs every day, and then hopefully if you do all that you can hopefully shoot some good numbers.
Q. You mentioned a checklist for here. What is that checklist for this course?
DANNY WILLETT: I couldn't rattle it on. I couldn't go through them all. But it's different things, areas of your game that you feel you need to work on for this particular golf course. Different shots that you're going to have to hit off the tee or into greens. It's just making sure that you make a good list of everything that you can do to obviously give yourself the best chance. And then, like I said, if you can take them off and you feel comfortable hitting the shots and hitting chips and bits like that around the golf course, then I just feel like you're going to give yourself the best opportunity.
Q. Have you changed more napkins or signed more Masters flags?
DANNY WILLETT: Definitely signed more Masters flags, but I've signed, I've changed a few nappies, as I said, but there's been a lot of signing that's had to be done.
Q. Just curious, how many do you have this week? I saw a package being delivered to you.
DANNY WILLETT: It's big. I thought it all stopped when I came out here, but yeah, there's a few in the lockers for the lads and stuff, so obviously for their designated charity, so yeah, try and take some time this week and sign them off for the lads.
Q. How comfortable are you with the jacket now? Are you wearing it a lot at home? Do you bring it with you this week? Does it fit you?
DANNY WILLETT: It fits all right, yeah. Not too bad. Yeah, it travels. Obviously every golf tournament there's media and things that you've got to attend with the jacket and things like that. Dinners. Probably wear it a lot less than what most people think I would wear it, but I don't want to get it dirty or spill anything on it. So no, it stays sort of up in the wardrobe obviously, and then, yeah, it travels everywhere, just in case you have to you go meet someone or you go do something with it.
Q. No changing the baby with the jacket on?
DANNY WILLETT: Definitely not. You can't trust him when you're changing him.
Q. What kind of reaction have you gotten from friends, people in general when you have worn it, and secondly, have you watched a replay of the Masters the final round at all?
DANNY WILLETT: Reaction's been cool. Obviously it's a very iconic thing, the Green Jacket. Most times you get a trophy that comes with a poster a few weeks later and it goes in the trophy cabinet in the house, and it's nice and you look at it every now and again, but obviously the jacket because you can wear it, it's just different. It's just so -- there's so much history, in and around the Green Jacket, so yeah, the reaction's been fantastic from people at home.
And then, yeah, I have watched it back. I've only watched it back once. I watched it back the Tuesday night I got back with Nick. I had a beer and watched it back over again and kind of chuckled and smiled to myself and realized what you've done, and then it's been back to day-to-day daddy duties.
Q. I saw among the people you thanked after the Masters was the 15th club. Could you give an example of a hole at Augusta where something you saw in the numbers helped you make a better decision that you wouldn't have made otherwise maybe?
DANNY WILLETT: Again, that all changes depending on wind, weather, things like that. They gave us the information of where we would best be able to score from, going on our game. John, my caddie, obviously sits down and speaks to them a lot more than I do, and relays the information there's a lot of information that you know you can get from them. So it's more through John and then John filters it into me depending upon what he thinks we need and don't need for that particular week.
So yeah, I mean it was just, anything that you really wanted to know about any of holes they were able to give us. We didn't quite hit some of the shots that they said we'd have been better off hitting, but we didn't play the par-5s great at Augusta, which usually is key around that golf course. But that wasn't anything to do with them. That was me not hitting good golf shots.
So no, they were great in helping us determine a certain amount of course strategy in and around what we did.
Q. Your brother acquired a certain amount of notoriety on social media. What was said when you saw him after that, and have you banned him from anymore social media use?
DANNY WILLETT: No, no, he's fully unleashed on Twitter these days. No, all the stuff he said was funny, giving a little insight into what we used to do as kids, I guess. Yeah, I've seen him a couple of times and we didn't speak a great deal about it, to be honest. That's the nice thing about when I get to go home, we don't speak about golf. We speak about everything else other than golf. So the less said about golf when we're back home, the better. We just try to speak about normal things and how everyone's been in terms of theirselves.
Q. This time last year you sat on the green as one of THE PLAYERS rookies. You're back here now as a Major winner, up on center stage. Do you have to pinch yourself now and again to think, oh, how quickly things have turned for you?
DANNY WILLETT: Yeah, it's been a pretty crazy 18 months I would say. Yeah it was fantastic last year. There was about 10 or 12 rookies sat there and you get your little mementos for being a rookie and you speak to the media and tell them how excited you are about playing that week, and I had obviously come off a good week the week before, so there was a little bit more media attention there.
Then, yeah, I mean, yeah, you look back at that exactly a year ago, that's -- yeah, it's been some 12 months. You do pinch yourself, but I knew it was in there. Just it was one of them things actually it's kind of happened. You dream about it and stuff and you practice hard for it, and then when it does happen, I guess, yeah, you have got to pinch yourself and appreciate just what you've done.
Q. Do you find that you're recognized in public more often now and do you have any good stories of kind of getting back to reality after the Masters?
DANNY WILLETT: You get recognized a little bit more. It's tougher to do normal day-to-day things. You know, golf's obviously not changing, and when you're on TOUR, once the guys have said, well done, that's kind of it; they go on with their normal day jobs, and we're all trying to beat each other this week. So on TOUR it's been as I would expect.
Back home it's been a little bit tricky with people like that, so it kind of -- it does kind of go into your personal life a little bit. You can't go and have a nice quiet drink with the missus and stuff. At nighttime you get people asking for pictures, autographs. It comes with the territory. You can't really complain about signing a few autographs and taking a few pictures because you've just won the Masters. No, I mean, coming back down to reality was literally the first day you get back home, you open the door, Nick's there, and the dog jumps up and licks you and you got your little man to change. So that was straight back down to reality, and like I say, just being a dad and a husband.
Q. Watching the Masters on Tuesday with your wife, was that almost the first time it really reality started to sink in?
DANNY WILLETT: Well it's still not sunk in to be honest. I could still re-watch it now and we could still smile with the shots that you hit and how things unfolded.
But no, that was -- I just kind of watched it just -- I don't know if I felt like I had to, I just wanted to see it back over, I guess, and just see some of the things that we did. When you're playing in and around or when you're playing and you're in and around that competitiveness you don't really obviously step back. Four and a half hours go pretty quick when you're playing, and Sunday went exceptionally fast. So I think it was just to actually watch it back and slow it down, and I guess just, yeah, like you said, just kind of take in actually what we just achieved.
Q. Secondly, a golfer's expectations are typically higher than anyone else's, but you'll be looked upon differently as the Masters champion. Have you thought much about that and how many more kind of public perception, expectations are going to be with you?
DANNY WILLETT: Yeah, I mean public expectations are what they are. I've got my own set of expectations of what I want to do for myself, so I'm not really too fussed about what everybody else thinks; I'm trying to do my bit. If I do my bit, and what I've done over the last 18 months, two years, then it's proved to myself that I can do some pretty special things. So yeah, people will then, as everyone does, think that you should win every tournament we but all know that's pretty much impossible.
No I've got my own set of expectations. Public expectations can be whatever they want, but I'm not really too bothered about what other people think and what they expect me to do. I've got my own.
Q. Did you ever have to deal with that even from your amateur days of knowing what the what was expected of you?
DANNY WILLETT: The amateur days maybe a little bit. But again, only because the fields were smaller and the strength and depth isn't as good so when we were winning a few things as an amateur and you get to world No. 1 as an amateur, people think that you should win every week, which is probably more realistic than doing it out here. There's 140 this week; most weeks there's 156 guys that are capable of winning any golf tournament.
It just proves that each week there's a new winner on TOUR. Obviously new Major champions come out of the woodwork every now and again, so yeah, we just -- like I said, we're just going about our own things and try and control what we can control.
Q. Can I ask you about the draw tomorrow? You're playing with Justin, so it's the only two Englishmen to win majors in the last 20 years. Does that reinforce how special what you've done is and can you recall Justin speaking to you at Augusta?
DANNY WILLETT: Yeah, obviously he was -- I don't know what time Rosie had finished on Sunday, but he waited around and he was outside the scorer's hut when we were finishing and shook my hand and give me a bit of a hug and said, congrats, well played.
I've known Rosie for a few years and turned into being good friends, and it's going to be good fun on Thursday and Friday, especially with Sneds in there, as well. It's going to be a good laugh.
Like you say, yeah, we look at it, I mean it's surprising actually that not more English people have won with the pedigree that England's had in their players. It's surprising that we haven't won more Majors as a country, but hopefully there's a few more to come.
Q. You've been obviously very busy off the course since the Masters. How many rounds of golf have you gotten in?
DANNY WILLETT: One.
Q. Just one go around?
DANNY WILLETT: I played one on Saturday with my pals and then played nine holes yesterday was the only time I've been on the golf course in the last month, so a little bit rusty, so yeah, try and get some work done this week and get out there this afternoon and go check the golf course out, and hopefully come Thursday we'll have shook off a little bit of that rust.
Q. I have a feeling your father might have said something particularly telling to you since you've been back. Has he said something you can tell us that he said or indeed for that matter your mother actually?
DANNY WILLETT: Why would you think that?
Q. Well, it might -- it would be revealing, I think, of -- I mean, they must be terribly proud of you is what I'm trying to say.
DANNY WILLETT: Yeah, they are. I spoke to my mom on the phone after I just won, and I've obviously seen them since, but like I said, we don't really talk golf. It's very much the conversation that happens within family back home is far from talking about golf and stuff and far from talking about one person's achievements. She's got four boys and my dad's got four boys, and talking about one will be a little bit harsh on the other three, so no, we just talk about more normal everyday things.
Q. Does that keep you in your place?
DANNY WILLETT: Firmly.
AMANDA HERRINGTON: All right, well, we appreciate your time, best of luck this week.
DANNY WILLETT: Thank you.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports