Danny Willett, 27, moved into the world top 50 after this year’s US Masters and is now ranked 36th. He won his first European Tour event in June 2012 at the BMW International Open in Cologne and followed that with a win at the Nedbank Golf Challenge in December 2014. GOLF RETAILING asked the Callaway Apparel brand ambassador about his career to date and his opinion on golf apparel.
You had an outstanding English amateur career as the Amateur Champion and on the Walker Cup team. What was it like moving the States and playing collegiate golf at Jacksonville State?
I did two years. It was good, it was a good college. The athletics programme was very good and the gym aspect was very good and I was quite fortunate that the coach wasn’t a golf coach, didn’t try to do any golf with me, so he was more of a mentor and was good with the gym stuff.
There was a nice guy at the golf course called Buster who played on the tour for a few years. We used to get a cart and go and play some holes and talk through shot shaping and things like that. It’s a tiny place but people in Alabama are very welcoming and it’s a very warm place.
It was just a great experience. If anyone asked me if they should go, it’s a great way of doing it if you have the discipline to do it all yourself. If you’re the type of kid that needs their parents to get them up in the morning you’re probably not going to last very long but if you’re happy doing your own thing and you love golf there’s nowhere better in the world to go than America where there’s great weather most of the time and fantastic golf courses.
I took it as an opportunity where it was impossible not to get better. You got physically stronger and mentally stronger and disciplined because I had to sort my own meals and do my school work, still practice and compete. You’ve really got to do your time management correctly.
You were the top amateur in the world in 2008 – how difficult did you find the transition to pro tour golf?
It’s just a process and you’re learning all the time. I knew I was a top-level amateur and just kept trying to do the same things knowing it would take me where I wanted to get to in professional golf. Luckily it has. You’ve just got to trust in what you’re doing and if you’re on the right tracks and doing the right things you’ll get there. If you’re talented enough you will break through and I’m happy with my progress at the moment.
Has your approach to golf clothing changed over the years, especially as you are now a brand ambassador for Callaway?
It definitely has. You always want to look good but now I’m in the fortunate position, thanks to Callaway and Perry Ellis, to have a certain style and they’re great with my feedback. I think it’s a great partnership and I always feel good wearing their gear.
Do you have any special colours you like to wear, or are you superstitious about any clothing items or colours?
Not really, no, but I know what I like!
Following your third place at the WGC-Cadillac Match Play Championship you have temporary membership of the PGA Tour – will you be playing more golf in the States?
I will be playing more regularly over there yes, but it’s a case of being able to plan that bit more. You can plan it properly and I’m kind of playing both schedules, nine or ten that count on both tours so you’re almost playing a dual schedule without travelling too much and stressing too much. It’s what I’ve always wanted.
What are your goals for this year and 2016?
I really just want to keep progressing. There’s lots to look forward to but I just want to stay in a position where I’m feeling I’m competing on a regular basis and everything else will look after itself from that point. It’s exciting and it’s been a great few months but I’m really determined that it will be just the start for me.