ASAP Sports Logo

NEDBANK GOLF CHALLENGE PRESENTED BY GARY PLAYER

November 8, 2016

Danny Willett

Sun City, South Africa

Q. How does it feel returning to an event you've had success at in the past?
DANNY WILLETT: It's always good to come to places you play well around. You try and pick and choose your schedule according to golf courses you like and golf courses you've done well at. For this one to fall where it has in The Final Series, I think could be a nice little boost for me.

I've been struggling of recent, just trying to get things going, and yeah, it's going to be nice to come back and play this event on a golf course we know really well and that we've played really well around.

So yeah, for the first time in the last couple weeks, I think I might actually be looking forward to teeing it up on Thursday. Hopefully we can have another good couple days of practice here and get a good feel of things and get the swing in a place where it should be.

Q. How much do you rely on past experience and good memories?
DANNY WILLETT: I think sometimes you don't really look at it at all. But then other times when you are struggling, it's nice to be able to look back and you kind of go through your old yardage books and you see where you hit it, where you played aggressive, where you didn't play aggressively, some of the shots you hit, some of the great shots you hit and stuff.

I think sometimes it helps. Sometimes you don't really look at it at all. I think this week, when we go down, we'll still be smiling. Look towards the ninth green, see the plaque on the floor, it's always nice. I don't think anyone ever really complains too much about coming back to a place where they have won at.

Q. Being part of The Final Series, does it change the approach or buildup to this event?
DANNY WILLETT: No, it's exactly the same. We've got the Pro-Am tomorrow and then you still tee it up Thursday. You're still playing four rounds of golf around the golf course and none of that changes. There's more guys there. It may change the scoring; how over certain years, you often get a couple of guys that stretch out a little bit.

I know Stenson last year finished second last year but he was a few shots from third. When we won, I think we won by four and often the separation is a little bit more. In an event where there's more guys, you may see a few more guys near the top end of the score, but by the same token, at the bottom it's more spread out, as well. I don't think it changes anything. You do your preparation and try to turn up in the same mind-set as every other tournament.

Q. And there's the great battle going on in The Race to Dubai standings.
DANNY WILLETT: Yeah, me and Henrik have both had fantastic years, both picking up our first major and had good showings elsewhere around the world, and now boils down to two events where we are back to chasing. We're a little bit behind him so we're going to try to make up some ground this week and hopefully try to make up ground next week or fend him off and see how everything goes. We've both got pretty good track records around this golf course, as well, so it could be interesting.

Q. Winning here was the sort of start of probably you being an elite player; would that be right?
DANNY WILLETT: Yeah, it was one of them, we got into it after -- I think finished 23rd in the Order of Merit and got in this one, which was one of those bonus things. And got here, the game was good, and it was a 30-man field, a good 30-man field. And I think winning around here in the way that we did, we played aggressive, stayed aggressive all week and trusted what we were doing was right and stuck to our own game plan, did our own things.

The year before that, you might have looked at what other guys were doing, and I think then we started to realise what we do is pretty good and that's what we did. And then yeah, it worked out great in that we won. But even if we hadn't won, it still would have been a good steppingstone but going over the line, and winning by four, kind of gave us that boost.

Q. Is it fair to say that the sense of belonging maybe started?
DANNY WILLETT: Well, whenever you win an event, these smaller-field events, yeah, they are tricky to get in and the fields aren't as big; and sometimes you turn up and you kind of use it as a jolly, sometimes use it as a practice week or whatever it may be.

But we turned up here, we got in there, which was a great result, and then we turned up wanting to put in a really good performance wanting to end the season well and start the next season really well. Ended up being a fantastic week. Like I said, just kicked on from there two years later.

Q. When was the last time, or have you ever, given yourself credit for what you've achieved in the last two years?
DANNY WILLETT: It's tough when you're playing. It's tough. I guess I need to do it a little bit more. But it's a tricky one, when you're playing, you're always trying to get better. You're always trying to do better things. You're always trying to train harder, practice harder.

Even if you're playing great, even the Masters this year, that was unbelievable. And then a few weeks later, you're still trying to get better.

Q. I understand it's the nature of you guys.
DANNY WILLETT: Yeah, it is, and especially myself in particular. But I think it's one of them where you need to step back and reflect and that's why you've got people around you. Nic obviously tries telling me that on a regular basis, and sometimes I'm willing to listen and sometimes I don't. It's just, the last two months, yeah, they have been tough.

Q. Have you not been like the mere mortals going like us, won the Masters. Is there a sense of --
DANNY WILLETT: Like you say, the green jacket's here this week. I brought it for this trip. There was a few dos that I brought it for.

I had a giggle to myself. Henrik had a picture on Twitter yesterday, and he's obviously brought the Claret Jug with him. I think they are going on the tee next week in Dubai and stuff. When he carries it around, he must look at it and go, you know, that's what we did.

And same token, I open up the green jacket this morning, hang it up, you kind of look at it and you do then maybe go, you know what, 86 guys have won the Masters and you've got one of them jackets hanging up in your wardrobe.

The last couple of days, still working hard on stuff but trying to work a little more on thinking a bit better and just looking at things maybe from a broader aspect and saying, you know what, even if you miss the cut, even if you miss 20 cuts and won a major in a year, would you class it as a good year. There would be varying opinions on that answer but you would still say it's a good season.

That's the thing, so crazy how your mind works with these things. You think that you should be able to play well every time just because you've done what you've done, but it's a game. Doesn't happen like that. There's 156 guys every week working hard and practicing, and it's not as easy to win every tournament, as what you feel like it should be when you're playing well and stuff. It just doesn't happen.

We played great in Italy but Francesco beat us by one and that's what it was. If we won that one, all of the sudden the last two months night not have been as bad. It's just how things fall into place, your margins and your thought process on it, and like you say, your expectations of yourself. Yeah, we try, we try.

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