Masters champion Danny Willett looking to remove rust after long break from action

SHEFFIELD'S Danny Willett is still trying to learn how to adjust to life as Masters champion as he prepares for this week's Irish Open.

Danny Willett enjoys a joke with the media ahead of a practice round prior to the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open (Picture: Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images).

The 28-year-old Yorkshireman became the first European in 17 years to claim the green jacket at Augusta last month following a surprise meltdown from reigning champion Jordan Spieth around Amen Corner.

It was a victory that propelled Willett, who had become a father for the first time just 12 days earlier, into the spotlight and he conceded he was unprepared for the demands that came with winning the first major of the season.

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“I’ve just been busy,” he said of the past month.

“There are a lot of commitments you’ve got to do on and off the golf course. No one really prepares you for that. You can’t quite understand what guys like Rory (McIlroy) and Jordan go through until you experience it yourself.

“To actually realise time-management has taken a whole different role and really trying to get everything sectioned off and do things correctly. It’s been a busy four weeks.”

Willett’s first focus post-Masters was on his parenting commitments, but he eventually returned to the sport at last weekend’s Players Championship at Sawgrass.

He failed to make the cut there following a second-round 73 and will be hoping to find form again at the Irish Open, which will be staged at The K Club, the venue for the Ryder Cup a decade ago.

Asked about his aims this weekend, Willett added: “(To) almost try to not really put too much expectation on doing anything particularly fantastic, just really trying to get some rust out of the system.

“I think I took three-and-a-half, four weeks off, which is the most I’ve taken off in five, six years. So (I’m) trying to get things back to where they were and just trying to enjoy it.”