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DUBAI DUTY FREE IRISH OPEN HOSTED BY THE RORY FOUNDATION

July 5, 2018

Danny Willett

Ballyliffin, Republic of Ireland

Q. Steady and solid golf?
DANNY WILLETT: We played good pretty much most of the day, even the dropped shot on 3, hit just in the rough and you get a flyer and you can't quite control it. That's the kind of golf course it is.

Played some really nice stuff in there, holed out really well, and yeah, it was nice to see the scoring didn't go too much out of the way with the morning and afternoon draws and stuff. Looks a little bit softer this morning, a little bit windier. I think you can't ask for better weather.

Q. What did you think of the setup? They have kept the fairways quite narrow.
DANNY WILLETT: They have. It's fantastic. They are running kind of even. Last week they nipped in the fairways last week and this week the same. Gullane I've heard great things about and then we go over to Carnoustie.

The reason we play this is to get four similar weeks of golf, if it stays like this. They have set the golf course up really fair. If you hit good shots, you can make some good scores. You get out of position, you get in a few of the pot bunkers or you hit in the rough, you obviously can't control the spin out of the rough with the flyers. A good, fair test of golf.

Q. A tough week for a lot of people last week, you included. How nice to put up a good score on day one?
DANNY WILLETT: Yeah, good. The game wasn't far off last week. We just struggled with a few shots around Paris National. Went home early and worked hard over the weekend and came out pretty fresh. It's nice to see, again, you know, we know the work is in there and we're doing the right work but it's always nice to get those scores.

Q. And nice to get out early in the morning and keep that momentum going, having finished late tonight?
DANNY WILLETT: Yeah, I think the weather is set to be pretty good for the next few days and they had rain overnight last night. The golf course is going to continue to firm up. It's nice to kind of get, I would have said similar-ish conditions we played in this afternoon and try to go get it in the morning.

Q. Obviously a good week in Italy but been a struggle apart from that. How close are you, do you feel?
DANNY WILLETT: It was close. I did something to my knee on Friday night in Italy and we struggled over the week and we went for an MRI and I had a tear in my meniscus, which proves why I was struggling to walk over the weekend in Italy. Had an MRI and saw that and had a steroid injection the Thursday after.

So that wasn't quite bedded in by the time I went to the U.S. Open. It was still really tender, so I couldn't hit balls before the U.S. Open, and I couldn't really do a lot of putting because I can't bent down.

So getting there I was a bit rusty. Couldn't really hit loads of balls because it was painful and the walk was tricky around there, as well. U.S. Open wasn't as bad -- I took it on the chin. We were close to pulling out, so I took it on the chin as one of them things and enjoyed watching everybody on Saturday.

Then last week was, again, not far off. It's an incredibly difficult golf course, and we got the wrong side of a few things, and kind of put the pressure on ourselves because we were close to the cut line all day. I had a silly 3-putt on 15, a couple of nice shots on 16 and 17 and obviously just made a bit of a botched job at the last.

You know, you kind of look at last week and if we had made par at the last and made the cut and had a good week and all of a sudden, you probably could have ended up getting a pretty good finish out of it. You saw the morning scores on the Saturday, you could go out and play all right. You could break it down and it wasn't miles off.

But then getting here, I had a few good days of practise at home, and just luckily for us the golf courses at home are similar to they are here. I play links; the golf course I'm a member at is pretty tight and bouncy. Played there Monday and get a feel for a few of the shots. It's paid dividends, because we played nine holes here on Tuesday, Pro-Am Wednesday, and we've been really lucky the weather has not done anything yet.

In terms of a fair test of golf, I think morning, afternoon here, and with the rest of the week how the weather looks, it's going to be one of them weeks, where if you get out there and play some good golf, you can shoot some good numbers. It will be interesting to see how the golf course plays the next few days.

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