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THE 147TH OPEN

July 19, 2018

Danny Willett

Angus, Scotland, United Kingdom

DANNY WILLETT: Obviously, an early, early start, but got out there and kind of made the same mistake down the 1st. Played some real solid golf there for the middle of 15. And even into 17 wasn't too bad of a second shot. Just drifted a little bit and just a silly missed putt. But, yeah, 6 and 8, I know the conditions are as simple as what anyone could really ask for out at Carnoustie. Some funky little flags out there, and the wind was flicking around a little bit. For the main part, you're going to see pretty good scoring.

Q. How good were you? Five birdies? You must have been flying at one point.
DANNY WILLETT: Yeah, that was good. A lot of 12, 15 footers as well that just slid by. Could have been a really, really nice knock, but at the end of the day it wasn't so. But, again, you take the four days and see where it puts you.

Q. And you're in good shape? Feeling good?
DANNY WILLETT: Yeah, a little minor scare yesterday. Got into the grass a little bit, shoulder felt a bit strange, but we're able to get over them pretty quickly. Ice it up and rest up. Have the work done, and it kind of eases itself off. So they're the kind of things, little things here and there, but the brunt of the main thing are gone, which is nice. Got to take it day by day, working pretty well.

Q. What time was the alarm set for this morning?
DANNY WILLETT: 4:20.

Q. What about you? Where are you staying?
DANNY WILLETT: We're staying ten minutes away. The little man usually comes in at 5:00 anyway. Yeah, it's an early start. The best tee time, isn't it? I remember I played Muirfield a few years ago, and I got 6:30 on a Friday. You get days like this, and they really are the best day to play in an Open in the morning. As much as you don't like getting up at 4:20, you can go back and get your feet up. You know there's going to be some good scores and you're going to tumble down the leaderboard, but you've done your shift, and you can go get ready for tomorrow.

Q. There were some chances to be even better, 7, 12, 14, a bit unlucky.
DANNY WILLETT: Exactly it. We switched on 14 from 6 to 7. Unfortunately as it is around this golf course, you're in the rough or bunker, you're pitching short of the greens. I think they've done a great job of tucking the flags in a few spots to make it as difficult as possible. I think they realised the golf course is pretty gettable for some of the guys out there. If you do miss the fairway, it's still making it pretty tricky to formulate around the bunker.

I thought the layout of the golf course was really, really good. We gave ourself some chances, but it is what it is.

Q. Some good results recently certainly. Are you at the stage where the bad stuff's behind you, do you feel?
DANNY WILLETT: You never know.

Q. Touch wood.
DANNY WILLETT: I'm pretty hopeful we'll never be in as dark as play as we were. But by the same token, this is a strange odd game. You get ebbs and flows and hit a low point, but I've really enjoyed golf the last six, seven weeks. Even getting the clubs out and going to play at home without having to do two hours of warmup and go see the physio. Just hit around the golf course for nine holes and hit it pretty good and feel pretty good.

That kind of just leads you to work a little bit harder, even if it's just an extra half an hour putting and an extra half an hour hitting balls, whatever it may be. And the little sessions you're able to do for a bit longer because your body is better and just enables you to gain a little more than you ordinarily would have. And then to be able to go home and obviously not have to go through treatment and stuff and do everything. Yeah, it's nice.

Regardless of what the golf is and how the golf is, it's a lot better place to be.

Q. You referenced the dark times. How dark were they?
DANNY WILLETT: Pitch black. No, it wasn't good for a while, but that's kind of the situation we were in, and we're fighting, swinging it a little bit on and off, and the body being really uncooperative. Unfortunately in this game, trying to travel and play 26 weeks around the world, traveling countless amount of air miles isn't good for the body I don't think for anybody. (Inaudible).

It wasn't fun getting on the plane and wondering if you were actually going to be able to play The Open on Thursday. So not a nice place to be.

Q. Is that perspective going to help today? When you miss birdie putts at 15 and 16, you're not going to get too worked up about it?
DANNY WILLETT: Yeah, perspective is good, but you still get annoyed. You still want to make everything and do everything. As perfect as we try and be, yeah, you should remember the times that were terrible and go, well, that's not too bad. Unfortunately, we're not like that. We just keep trying to move forward and keep trying to strive for better things. Yeah, it's definitely nice to be stood here after shooting a relatively stress-free 69. You look at the number as a hole and not how we finish or how we start and not the actual number. It's a number in the 60s we've had the past few couple months, which has been really nice and some nice moves.

Q. How much does your work with Sean Foley helped pull you out of it?
DANNY WILLETT: Sean's been a massive help. Not only his knowledge on the golf swing, but how we've gone about doing it to free off a lot of the pain I was in, but just his demeanour as a person. He's a very charismatic guy, very upbeat, and I think with where I was, I really needed that. So, yeah, we often have little jokes about where we were.

We've come a good ways. That was probably one of the lowest. U.S. PGA last year, U.S. Open were three pretty poor events in terms of how I was mentally and personally and physically. So, yeah, it's been a pretty good 11 months work.

Q. (Inaudible).
DANNY WILLETT: Yeah. I mean, he was a little out of sorts, wasn't he? The times that they've put in, obviously, they're pretty good times. 4:26 seems pretty nice for 18 holes out there. Don't take much to put a couple of balls in the rough. You hack out, get a faulty chip, you have to mark because you take someone's line. Takes two or three holes, and all of a sudden you're out. Obviously, you want to keep the play going.

It was a little annoying there. Obviously, you've got a lot of movement with people trying to get the golf course ready and everyone out there. No, I think it's pretty good.

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