By Matthew Beedle
If you said Danny Willett would have be Masters champion this time last year, people would have laughed in your face or perhaps, as this is Britain, simply given you a strange look. Fast forward a year and the man who began his journey at Rotherham Golf Club is the one laughing, having won his green jacket in April.
Fast forward to the present and the Masters winner is shocked by his performance at the Abu Dhabi Championship where he missed the cut.
Many are wondering what has happened to the Masters champion. Some asking whether he will contend for another tournament in his career, let alone another major.
Was it a case of Jordan Spieth practically handing the Yorkshireman the green jacket following his meltdown on par 3, 12th hole?
Willett’s performance has certainly dropped since his win at Augusta but if you look at some statistics, you can clearly see why.
During his magical week at Augusta, Willett tied for 6th in greens in regulation (GIR) with 48 out of 72 greens hit.
He also had a driving accuracy, striking 68% of fairways hit. This may not sound prolific but it’s above average for a professional golfer. The stats show that Willett’s iron play was a strong point during his Masters win but it has severely worsened.
If you compare those stats to when Willett played in the HSBC World Golf Championships at the end of 2016, he is nowhere near in the form he was when he won The Masters.That weekend his driving accuracy was 44% and was one of the lowest in the field. Couple that with a low GIR as well and it’s plain to see Willett was clearly struggling to adapt as the season progressed.
It’s the same story for Willett so far in the 2017 season. He has averaged under 50% in driving accuracy and he has shown a loss of 10 yards from his average drives.
In this era of golf, hitting the ball as far as you can while maintaining accuracy is key to a player’s success. If Willett wants to become a two-time major champion and regular tournament winner, then he has plenty of work to do
The world number 12 must improve his driving problems or else he could soon fade away and become a forgettable, one-time major winner.