The year since Danny Willett's 2016 Masters win has not unfolded as he'd hoped it would. In recent months, Willett's problems with back pain have led to three missed cuts, three WDs, and a 76th out of 77 finish at the 2017 British Open. That includes missing the cut at the 2017 Masters as the defending champion.
The Englishman didn't mince words when asked about how far away his game is right now.
"F------ miles," he told The Telegraph. "A long way away. It feels a long way away. Golf shots are a long way away. Mental is a long way away. Scoring is a long way away."
"It's just frustrating. Every time you feel you are getting somewhere with it you take another two steps back. Before you know it you feel you are 10 steps further back than you were a few weeks before," he said. "The Masters was 13 months ago. I'm still the same person but the golf's not in the same place. If I got the game somewhere near I could maybe draw on that and use it because I've been there and done it but when you are playing at 7.55 on a Sunday morning – regardless of what beautiful memories I have from April 2016 – they can't somehow enhance you to play brilliantly," he said.
According to the Golf Channel, Willett had an MRI and visited a back specialist the week before the Open. He doesn't think surgery is imminent just yet, but it also isn't out of the question.
"I'd do anything that helped," Willett said. "I don't think it does need surgery. It's more just getting it in line, and the only thing that irritates it massively is swinging poorly."