'It's Still Touch And Go' - Past Champion Racing To Be Fit For The Masters

Danny Willett had shoulder surgery at the end of 2023 but is still hoping to play Augusta National next week

Danny Willett takes a shot takes a shot at the 2023 Open
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Danny Willett has not given up hope of playing at The Masters but said it will be "touch and go" as to whether he tees it up at Augusta National next week.

The Englishman was the surprise winner in 2016 when he made the most of Jordan Spieth's dramatic back-nine collapse on Sunday to claim his first Major triumph.

However, he is in a race against a time to be fit to compete in this year's edition having undergone shoulder surgery following the BMW PGA Championship in September.

The 36-year-old still harbours ambitions of competing in his tenth Masters next week but admits he will go in with limited expectations if his body allows him to tee it up on Thursday.

"It’s still touch and go in terms of whether I play at Augusta," Willet said, speaking to Betfred. "Usually I head up to Augusta with Nick and the boys along with my grandparents and friends whereas this year it’s going to be just me and [my wife] Nicole.

"There are a few areas [of my game] that need sprucing up but this year has been very quiet compared to seven years ago which has been nice. We’ll see what happens but I'll have to be aware not to burn myself out by the time the tournament starts."

Even if Willett cannot compete, he will still be on the grounds at Augusta to attend the Masters Champions Dinner. Despite winning the tournament eight years ago, the novelty has still not worn off for the Sheffield-born golfer.

Danny Willett celebrates 2016 Masters victory

Danny Willett won the 2016 Masters

(Image credit: Getty Images)

"I have to pinch myself every time I go back there," he said. "You’re sat in the locker room chatting to the guys before dinner. Out of the whole week, that’s the most surreal part for me. 

"Being across from Jack [Nicklaus] and sitting opposite Gary [Player] with Ben Crenshaw hosting and telling their own personal Masters stories, it’s a special night."

Ben Fleming

Ben joined Golf Monthly having completed his NCTJ in multimedia sports journalism at News Associates, London. He is now a freelance journalist who also works for The Independent, Metro, UEFA and Stats Perform.