British Open a walk in the park for relaxed Willett


Danny Willett claimed he gets more nervous playing against his friends than under the spotlight of a major championship after launching himself into contention at the British Open with a six-under round of 65 to move to seven-under.

The Englishman has experienced the contrasting fortunes at the top of the golf game as after winning the Masters in 2016, he slipped down to 276 in the world due to injury and a loss of form.

However, his first victory in over two years in Dubai last November was the turning point for Willett to return to the world’s top 100.

“I’m 31. I’ve done what most people wish to do in a career already. If you can’t be relaxed playing in an Open early on a Saturday morning when can you,” he said.

“I’m probably more nervous playing with the lads at home because I need to win.”

Willett conceded there were some “dark times” during his fall from grace that saw him lose his PGA Tour card little over a year after donning the green jacket.

But he believes his new-found carefree attitude is the way to play his best golf.

“The more tense you get, the worse your breathing gets. The worse your breathing gets, the worse you’re going to move. It just has an effect and stress is a big part of that,” he added.

“When I was at my worse, that was one of the main factors. Now you can keep yourself relaxed and kind of go about things businesslike, but you might as well have fun doing it and go from there.”