Masters 2017: Danny Willett hopes Augusta return can spark return to form

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Danny Willett & caddie Jonathan Smart relive magical Masters win in 2016
Masters 2017 on the BBC
Venue: Augusta National Dates: 6 April to 9 April
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Defending Masters champion Danny Willett says returning to the scene of his greatest triumph may not spark an instant upturn in form.

The Englishman, 29, won his first major after a shock win at Augusta, aided by American Jordan Spieth's collapse.

Willett rose to a career-high ninth in the world, but has dropped to 17th after failing to win an event since.

"You do have a spring in your step coming back as champion," he said. "But you can't change your game like that."

Willett became the first Briton to win the Green Jacket in 20 years when he shot a five-under-par 67 as 2015 champion Spieth crumbled during a thrilling final round.

However, he has struggled to regularly match his form at Augusta since.

The Yorkshireman finished third in the PGA Championship and second in the Italian Open following his Masters triumph, but suffered a dip in form ahead of his Ryder Cup debut in October.

He failed to win a single point as Europe lost 17-11 at Hazeltine, while also being distracted by questions over his brother Peter's controversial comments about American fans.

Willett has only claimed one top-10 finish so far in 2017, blowing a three-shot 54-hole lead to finish fifth at the Maybank Championship in February.

"The pressure has been more from myself. It's not a nice feeling to not hit good golf shots when you know what you can do," he said.

"I think the last 12 months has made me a little more impatient.

"I think achieving what I achieved last year and performing under the pressure that I did on Sunday, if you don't do that every time you get a bit annoyed.

"That's where the game jumps up and bites you. It's not that easy."

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Danny Willett's best shots as he won the Masters

'If the Yorkshire puddings go flat we won't be happy'

One of Willett's roles in his return to Augusta as defending champion is choosing the menu for the annual Masters champions' dinner on Tuesday.

Thirty-four former winners will start with cottage pie before tucking into roast beef with Yorkshire pudding and apple crumble.

"There's been a lot of thought gone into it about how we can embrace British culture and hopefully they enjoy a little taste of Yorkshire," said Willett, who was born in Sheffield.

Asked if Augusta's chef was confident of making Yorkshire puddings, he responded: "He'd best be, otherwise I'll be in the kitchen making sure his oil is hot enough!

"If they go a bit flat, we're not going to be happy. I'm sure that he's been practising."

Danny Willett
Willett shows off his carefully-crafted menu ahead of Tuesday's champions' dinner

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