Danny Willett considering back surgery after struggles in 2017

Danny Willett of England. (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)
Danny Willett of England. (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images) /

Danny Willett, just 15 months out from winning the 2017 Masters, is rumored to be facing a decision about back surgery.

Danny Willett is just 15 months out from winning The Masters. But in the game of golf each day is a different day. Willett won the Masters in 2016. It’s now 2017 and Willett has missed cuts in six worldwide events this season.

Is Willett in a slump? Was his Masters triumph no more than a few lucky shots delivered at the right time, as Jordan Spieth famously collapsed? Or does Willett have physical problems that are interfering with his game?

Struggling in 2017

Willett has fallen to number 43 in the OWGR. He finished 76th place out of the 77 players who made the cut at The Open last week. His back has been hurting him for a while this season and his physical condition is clearly hurting his game..

Willett told the Telegraph in the UK,

"The Masters was 13 months ago. I’m still the same person but the golf’s not in the same place."

Willett’s big problem this season lies in his short game. He has struggled with the short putts. He even doesn’t really like the way that his iron shots are going.

He went on to tell the Telegraph,

"It’s just frustrating. Every time you feel you are getting somewhere with it you take another two steps back. Before you know it you feel you are 10 steps further back than you were a few weeks before."

Willett hasn’t won a single tournament since his 2016 Masters victory although he’s put four top-10 finishes on his résumé since that victory.


According to the Golf Channel, Willett had an MRI and visited a back specialist before last week’s Open Championship. He may have to have back surgery.

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Willet doesn’t entirely agree that surgery is inevitable. He told Golf.com,

"I don’t think it does need surgery. It’s more just getting it in line, and the only thing that irritates it massively is swinging poorly."

Willett hoped to take some time off from golf this summer but needed to improve his world golf ranking.

He told ESPN,

"In an ideal world we’d have taken a few months off but it’s a time of year when you need to be playing well. The Rolex Series events are all seven million dollars and you chuck in a couple of majors and WGC events — if you take three months off you’re going to fall a hell of a long way behind everyone on the Order of Merit and world rankings."

Whether back surgery is the answer for Willett’s golf problems seems to be uncertain. But what we do know for sure is that we’ve got another Major and the PGA TOUR playoffs coming up in the months ahead.

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If Danny Willett hopes to get back into contention this season he must address what ails him and improve his game.