US Open: Masters winner Danny Willett says life in public eye is ‘tricky’

Danny Willett and Rory McIlroy

Willett and McIlroy assess the conditions at Oakmont

Danny Willett says he has found life in the public eye “tricky” since winning the Masters in April.

The 28-year-old Englishman, who won his first major at Augusta in April, is preparing for the US Open at Oakmont, which starts on Thursday.

Willett will play alongside 2011 winner Rory McIlroy for the first two rounds.

He said: “The last couple of months, I can’t remember a practice session or a tournament that’s not being filmed or where a microphone is not nearby.”

After winning the opening major of the year, victory for Willett at Oakmont would mean he is halfway to becoming the first man to win all four major tournaments in a calendar year.

“I am relatively surprised that no-one has done it, but for the rest of the time I’m going to be playing golf, I honestly can’t see it happening too much, just purely because of the strength and depth of the field,” he said.

  • ‘It’s the hardest course we have ever played’

Willett expects ‘fun’ with McIlroy

Willett has played only three times since the Masters – missing the cut at the Players Championship, sharing 23rd place at the Irish Open, and finishing third at the PGA at Wentworth.

In McIlroy and Rickie Fowler, Willett will spend the first half of the US Open with two of the top five players in the world rankings.

He said: “I played with Rory when we were amateurs and it should be fun on Thursday and Friday. He’s a fantastic example of how athletic golf is these days.”

Oakmont, last used for this tournament when Angel Cabrera won in 2007, is a typically brutal US Open course, a 7,219-yard par-70 set-up with 210 bunkers and a 288-yard par three.


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McDowell relishing Oakmont test

‘I’d love to go to Rio’

World number two Jordan Spieth said on Monday he will play at the Rio Olympics this summer, despite concerns over the Zika virus.

Australians Marc Leishman and Adam Scott have already withdrawn because of Zika – an infection linked to brain deformities in newborn babies – but McIlroy expects to play.

Willett said he would “love to go”.

He added: “It’s still up in the air, there’s obviously a bit of a worry as you’ve seen from the guys that have pulled out.

“Hopefully the threat is a bit less and we can go there.”

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