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November 13, 2020

Danny Willett

Augusta, Georgia

Q. How did it go today?
DANNY WILLETT: It was good, yeah. Shaky start. In the second round we cracked the face on the driver this morning, on 17, so we played the second round with a 3‑wood. It seemed to work quite well. Played good, dug in after that first hole down 10, and then really kind of got into our stride.

Q. What changes have you noticed this year?
DANNY WILLETT: You know what, with that top tier being a lot softer this year, coming in here from a little bit further back, being able to hold it in that back section makes that green play a hell of a lot bigger. Usually you're coming in there trying to just pitch it over that downslope and then hope that it stays short of the back bunker, but with it being softer this year, your only real bad miss there is short where it's going to be a tricky putt up and over. Some flags are a hell of a lot easier. Some are a lot trickier. Getting to a back flag, for example, when you're spinning it is obviously tricky this year, but all in all you'll see scoring better when the greens are softer out there.

Q. What happened to your driver?
DANNY WILLETT: The face cracked.

Q. On what hole?
DANNY WILLETT: 17 this morning.

Q. Did you go the whole rest of the day?
DANNY WILLETT: Mm‑hmm. I tried. I've got a spare head but it wasn't as good, so we just thought we took the decision out and didn't even put it in the bag for the second round.

Q. How much yardage difference?
DANNY WILLETT: Yeah, 30. It's nice to see everyone 340 out there and we're hitting 3‑wood. But this golf course I play quite a lot of 3‑wood around here anyway. Always have. This place for me has always been a second‑shot golf course, and especially with how receptive some of these smaller tiers are, it kind of made it a little bit easier. You're coming in with 6‑iron instead of 8‑iron, your ball is still going to stop on the green, whereas in years gone past, that would have been a real big disadvantage. So yeah, you know, we're doing it nicely, and yeah. Should be a reasonable position.

Q. How many times has that happened in your career?
DANNY WILLETT: A couple. A couple, unfortunately, and I don't even hit it that hard. It's just that I don't like tinkering. That driver is probably three years old, so that's the only problem with not liking to change all the time is that sooner or later something like that might happen.

Q. Describe the difference in your physical condition and your game condition this year compared to past years.
DANNY WILLETT: Yeah, physically I'm probably as good as I ever have been. You know, we're working pretty hard to keep that stuff going, and then that obviously allows you to practice a little more, train a little bit harder, train a little bit better, and we're in a good place. The game is‑‑ it can come and go, as does everyone's, but the stuff we're working on feels pretty good and feel like we're on nice tracks with Foles. And yeah, you know, it's nice that it comes together.
I've got some nice memories, obviously, around this place, and it's been really tough the last few years missing out here. Missed by one last year; missed a short putt on the last to make it after the rain delay.
Real nice show today, especially after that start, to fight back to be playing the weekend here, which is a place that's real close to my heart.

Q. Did it help to get up early and roll into the day and finish strong?
DANNY WILLETT: Yeah, we were up at 4:30. It's a nice early start for us. But yeah, you know, we usually end up getting up early with the kids. We got lucky with how the draw was for us, I would say. We didn't hang around too much yesterday. By the time I got out there, the golf course was a bit beat up, but we got pretty benign conditions for our 12 holes that we got in yesterday, and then this morning has been perfect again.
This place with the sunshine, unfortunately no patrons, but it's still a pretty magical place.

Q. Are you kind of happy that later groups will also have to play into tomorrow and finish up the round?
DANNY WILLETT: It doesn't really matter. We're just kind of hoping we can get back on track I would assume by Saturday evening, depending on how many guys make the cut and what they want to do with the tee times. Obviously real limited daylight hours this time of year, so yeah, fingers crossed that guys can ‑‑ no more weather can come in and guys can get finished as soon as possible and then we can have a real good weekend.

Q. Is there something that worked for you mentally in 2016 that you feel is starting to work again?
DANNY WILLETT: No. We were playing really good that week. We were playing really good that year. And this year has been just really strange with everything that's happened with COVID and all. You know, everything seemed normal the first couple months of the year. We were living in America, and then obviously when the pandemic hit and the lockdown, we stayed in America, and great time to spend with the family, understanding we'll never be able to do it again. 15 weeks, see the kids, help them ride a bike, help them swim. And then since coming out of that, I've just not really played that well. Been putting in some good work, but just really not quite clicked on the golf course.
You know, it helps being back at a place that obviously I'm very, very familiar with, so yeah, fingers crossed we can kind of kick off and see what we can do.

Q. Is the second cut more penal this year than you've seen it in the past?
DANNY WILLETT: Yeah, definitely. It's a hell of a lot longer than I think what most guys have seen it. Wet under that, as well, so we're getting a lot that are coming out a little bit dead.
It's tricky around here when you're trying to‑‑ there's some pretty precise little areas that you've got to hit into. Yeah, trying to judge your distance out of this stuff, probably better it coming out dead than it coming out quick, to be honest.
But yeah, you'll see a lot more people struggling a little bit from this cut that ordinarily is probably half the length.

Q. Did you have a little wrist issue last week?
DANNY WILLETT: Yeah, it was just minor. We were under a tree on 8 and it was one of them where we had to ice it and a little bit of stuff, but we were a good ways over the cut mark, and we thought, you know what, we'll just make sure we play it really safe. We ended up coming up here early on Sunday morning, resting a couple days and coming up Sunday morning, so it's worked out well.

Q. Do you have any superstitions or rituals you try to replicate from 2016?
DANNY WILLETT: No, very different golf course, very different game these days. I've already seen quite a lot of Sunday pins from that year in these first two days, so not other than stuff like that. We can obviously try and draw on a few nice memories, a few nice shots we hit back in 2016 all through the week and hopefully hit some more over the weekend.

Q. Do you go to the range now to try to dial in your driver?
DANNY WILLETT: We're going to have a little look. We're going to have a little look, but I'm pretty happy that if it's not something that really, really stands out, we'll end up just playing as we have done today. It's one of those you feel more comfortable with the 3‑wood that we've used for a long time now, and you put a better swing on it if you're not sure about a driver. It's maybe not worth it, so we'll just have to wait and see.

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