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April 6, 2017

Danny Willett

Augusta, Georgia

Q. (No microphone.)
DANNY WILLETT: We dug our heels in and hit some good golf shots. And I think conditions today, you're really going to see some of the guys who are the more experienced be able to grind a score out there with knowing where you can and cannot miss it.
But, yeah, tricky day. I don't think 72 you're going to do a great deal of damage to your overall week with how the conditions have played out today. Yes, the greens have been softer, but then in this case, when you get a few of the flags, when they're soft and you're spinning, it's just difficult. You got to get the breeze just right and try and get it on to ledges.
And, obviously, I think the worst thing out there today is putting. We have had a few balls roll and when you got a little slippery 4‑, 5‑footer and you got a crosswind to take into account, and if the wind doesn't gust through then obviously you're going to mishit it. Yeah, there's a lot of factors out there that you got to take into account and I think that's why you have seen the scoring as is.
There is still a good score out there, if you drop on some good numbers and you leave yourself in some good position, obviously, with the putts. But pretty quickly it can jump up and bite you.

Q. Is it also tough just kind of when to hit the shot, when to draw the putt back, not knowing when a gust may come that make it harder?
DANNY WILLETT: Yeah, it's one of them, you don't want to be stepping back loads, because obviously you've talked through with the wind in account, and, yes, there are a couple of occasions where it gusted.
On 12, obviously, we were playing for a good bit of wind in out of the right and then when we were over it, it was really strong in out the right and we stepped up thinking about maybe hitting a little bit more club and then we got back into it and said, no, let's just stick with the same. And then when I hit it then flicked and went a little bit downwind and it went in the back trap.
So, it's one of them where, again, there is an element of luck involved and yeah, when you pull the trigger, it is playing what you think or what your best guess is that it's going to play. So, but that is Augusta. The winds swirl, they bounce off the trees.
And I think it's just you've seen it today. There's never been a shot today that's been less than 10, 12 yards of breeze. So, that's a hell of a lot around here to try and get it into these small areas.

Q. A little bit colder tomorrow mornings. Similar conditions. Do you take the same mentality that you took this afternoon out on the course tomorrow morning?
DANNY WILLETT: Yeah, I think it's going to be a grind again, isn't it. Yeah, the forecast these two days is pretty similar breezes, cold, golf course obviously playing a little bit longer than what it would have been, because it, because of the wetness out there. But you can hear the SubAir is on and they're trying to dry it out as good as possible.
So, yeah, I can imagine the scores staying the same over the next couple of days and then hopefully you're not going to be too far back going into the weekend.

Q. You and Matt both righted the ship at about the same time and turned what was looking like a little bit of a disaster into a really good round. I think you played pretty well the last 15 holes. I don't know, did it help that you and Matt started playing well at the same time?
DANNY WILLETT: Yeah, Kuch is a great guy to play with. He never gets too annoyed, he always stays even keeled. He knows that there's something around the corner that could happen that's great and if it doesn't, he doesn't really get that upset either. So, Kuch is a great person to play with in trying to keep everything as level as possible.
So, yeah, we were all hitting some pretty good shots. Kuch, he didn't make a couple of the putts early on and a couple of scraggly ones early on, but I think me and Kuch played pretty good from say 3, 4 on, we hit a lot of pretty good shots considering. I mean, I can't really tell what's a great shot out there because of how difficult some of the shots are. But, yeah, like I said, it's always nice to play with someone like Matt.

Q. Did 3 jump start you a little bit? That was a really nice shot in there.
DANNY WILLETT: Yeah, it was.

Q. I mean after the start.
DANNY WILLETT: Yeah, after the start, yeah, it wasn't great. Obviously we played the hole pretty conservatively. And we had an 8‑iron in there, but I never, I have never hit them clubs or had that shot in there. Today was as strong of a wind as I've seen around here with it being playable. We always know Augusta for having quick greens and if it was any windier out there today I think they would have probably had called it a little bit. Because there's a few, there's half a dozen exposed holes where there's not many trees around and the ball does whip around. And we had a couple move on 14 and 15.

Q. On 15, what happened on the mark?
DANNY WILLETT: Yeah, we marked it, we lined it up, and then we took the marker off and walked around and were having a look and a gust came through and knocked it and knocked it eight foot backwards into the left on to the fringe.
So I said to John, I said, it's good it's not shaved down too bad, otherwise it could have, you could have been back over the water in a drop zone, which would have been a little bit harsh. But, like I said, if you get a few, if you got a few gusts coming through, there is the opportunity for the ball to move out there.

Q. When you get a start like that, in what's obviously a big moment, walking off 2 green did you give yourself a pep talk, do you beat yourself up, how do you deal with it?
DANNY WILLETT: You just say, hey, look, it's tough out here. You almost kind of hoping that you dropped all your shots just in one go. Which is, we kind of did. We played pretty steady from there on in. A bit of a silly bogey there on 11, which was a tricky putt to get to if you weren't middle of the fairway.
And obviously then the three off the last, but apart from that we hit some real nice golf shots in the middle section.

Q. Ernie said that it helped him that it almost felt linksy out here today, that you could hit low shots.
DANNY WILLETT: You could hit low shots, but again, because it's so soft, you're hitting a low shot, but you're still trying to flight it kind of five, six short of pin high into the breeze, which is odd.
And then even down breeze, you got 8, 9 in hand, yeah, it's flying 15, 20 yards further, but it's still stopping relatively quick. So, yes, it is a linksy feel in that you could, you were bumping it there and that, but obviously how the wind whips around here, it's ever o so slightly different.
But, yeah, I can see where he's coming from. There's a lot of creativity needed out there today and you can see someone like Ernie's, obviously he's played pretty nice down that back nine, and experience comes through, because you know where you can and can't miss it.

Q. With all your interviews the past year, you glad to get this first round out of the way?
DANNY WILLETT: Yeah, you are. It's always a great place. I mean, me and John were giggling about it saying, it doesn't really matter what happens. We have been working hard, but obviously we know the form's not quite been there, but it's one more year.
Fortunately enough for me and John, we're going to be here for the next 35, 40 years. So that's the nice feeling to have, in the fact that you've not got to do everything straight away, we're now here for life.
And we're just trying to get the game back in shape, regardless of where you are at and which week, we're just trying to get the game back somewhere where we can get back up there and compete.

Q. I would say you were thrilled after the start.
DANNY WILLETT: Yeah, pretty good start.

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