Willett is looking forward to having fun with ‘Rosie’ and ‘Sneds’ as he returns to work

Masters champion Danny Willett (Picture: AP).
Masters champion Danny Willett (Picture: AP).
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Danny Willett remembers well his Players Championship debut, as he should since it was only last year. As part of that ritual, the Yorkshireman was required with the rest of the rookies to face the world’s media en masse on the clubhouse lawn.

Twelve months on, he was accorded the privilege of his own media conference.

Well, the Sheffielder is a major winner, and the Masters champion at that.

This is all part of the learning process, a headline act expected to deliver the lines that will sell tickets and promote events as well as contend at the top of the leaderboard.

The demand represents a sea change in expectation as well as loading, one that he is happy to embrace.

As he says, you cannot complain about being recognised as the Masters champion.

“Back home it’s been a little bit tricky. It does kind of go into your personal life a little bit. You can’t go and have a nice quiet drink with the missus and stuff,” he said.

“At night, you get people asking for pictures, autographs. It comes with the territory. But you can’t really complain about signing a few autographs and taking a few pictures because you’ve just won the Masters.”

Sawgrass looks a picture. The fairways are pristine and the greens pure – and the company is not bad either.

Willett is paired today with the only other Englishman to win a major these past 20 years, Justin Rose, and one of the most agreeable golfers on the PGA Tour, Brandt Snedeker.

“I’ve known Rosie for a few years and we’ve turned into being good friends, and it’s going to be good fun on Thursday and Friday, especially with Sneds in there, as well. It’s going to be a good laugh,” said Willett.

Rose paid Willett the compliment of delaying his departure at Augusta to shake the hand of the winner.

“I don’t know what time Rosie had finished on Sunday, but he was outside the scorer’s hut when we were finishing, gave me a bit of a hug and said, ‘congrats, well played’. I appreciated that.”

The American audience was as fascinated with the details of fatherhood as they were with the green jacket, particularly Willett’s enthusiasm for changing the baby, which introduced a degree of confusion over here, where nappies became napkins in the commentary.

Willett being the considerate fellow he is let that one ride over him.

“Coming back down to reality was literally the first day you get back home,” he said. “You open the door, Nic’s there, and the dog jumps up and licks you and you’ve got your little man to change.

“So that was straight back down to reality, and like I say, just being a dad and a husband.”

Father of the year, right there, as they say in this neighbourhood.

Rose is sticking with his new claw grip after a poor final round on the greens last Sunday saw the Wells Fargo Championship slip from his grasp.

“I’m sticking with the claw grip, because I don’t think one poor putting round warrants a knee-jerk reaction,” he said.

“I putted well for the first three days in Charlotte, and I’ve seen plenty of positive signs since I switched.”