Thursday 23 January 2020

Fergie spurs Willett towards No1 slot

Former Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson
Former Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson

James Corrigan

Danny Willett has vowed not to wallow in his Masters glory, but instead follow the advice of Alex Ferguson as he sets out on his quest to become the World No1.

The Englishman will take off the next four weeks to spend time with his wife, Nicole, and their two-week-old baby, Zachariah, in their house in Rotherham. But when he resumes at the Players Championship in Sawgrass, he is determined to act on the words of the former Old Trafford manager.

The pair spoke at Willett's party on Sunday, first joking that Ferguson had lost a bet on Jordan Spieth to retain his title, but then turning to the serious subject of where next for the 28-year-old.

"Fergie had a brilliant piece of advice for me. He said, 'When I was at Manchester United, we never looked back on what we had achieved. We always looked forward. As soon as we win a trophy, it is forgotten about. The next morning we wake up and try to work hard to win the next trophy.'

"For him to say that puts things back in perspective from a true winner's point of view. It gave me an insight into what true champion would think and that's how I'm sure Rory (McIlroy), Jordan and Jason (Day) think. They don't rest on their laurels. They are back in the gym working hard or on the range practising, trying to make sure that when they next come out they will be competing."

Willett was speaking at the house rented by his management company where he talked to Ferguson. Laughing about the previous evening's contrast between the Augusta clubhouse and the marquee in the back garden, Willett said: "I went from dinner with the members, with speeches and everything to coming back here at 11pm to find 200 drunk, screaming northerners - which was awesome."

Eventually Willett retired to bed at 6am, before rising two hours later to go for a jog. While on the run, he plotted his path to becoming world No 1. He is clearly not satisfied with being the top-placed Englishman, having leapfrogged Justin Rose into ninth in the rankings.

"There's eight more steps to go," Willett said. "I have self-belief and I work incredibly hard and my ambition in my own mind has always been to be world No 1. This obviously gives me more belief that I can do it. You strive for perfection every time you practise, every time you play. But to be able to get there you need to win big tournaments, such as the Masters.

"I guess this does make me part of the conversation with Jordan, Jason, Rory and Rickie (Fowler)." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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