“You’ve just got to remember what got you here in the first place,” said Willett in reply to being asked what he felt can help him shake off back-to-back cuts in the BMW International Open and French Open, having also failed to make it to the weekend in the Players’ Championship in mid-May, to become a contender for the Claret Jug in Ayrshire.
“A lot of guys you see when they start struggling, you sack the caddie, you sack the coach, you sack the putting coach, you get a new psychologist. But, for me, you’ve got to strip it back and look at what got you there in the first place, and just build it back up again and make sure you’re working hard and on the right things.
“You have a pretty brutally honest conversation with yourself about what you’ve been doing. Are you working out enough? Have you been putting enough time in? Have you been dedicating yourself properly?”
Willett, who was laid up ill in bed for a couple of days last week, insists that retaining self belief is “easier said than done”, adding: “It’s a tricky one. All of a sudden you miss a couple of cuts by one, and you start looking at the ifs and buts and stuff.
“What you need is a good enough team around you that can pat you on the back when you’re doing well and give you a little kick in the rear when you’re not actually working hard enough but you might think you are. You need the brutal honesty of good people around you. We’re trying to get back on track now with getting back up and working as hard and for longer hours than what we have done in previous months, previous years.”
Like many others before him, the 28-year-old has found the additional demands on his time as a major winner the most difficult thing to adjust to. “It’s a juggling act, and it’s all good fun,” he insisted, though.
“You see what the top players in the world are doing on a day-to-day basis, and then you take your cap off and realise how good the work they do is due to the time restrictions.”
Willett tied for sixth in this event at St Andrews 12 months ago, when he played with the eventual winner, Zach Johnson, in the final round.
“Being British, this is one you want to get your hands on,” he admitted. “To come here as a major champion and get the crowds with us obviously would be fantastic on Thursday morning. Yeah, it will be really, really special.”
A Willett win on Sunday would, of course, add to the British successes by Andy Murray at Wimbledon and Lewis Hamilton at Silverstone.
He laughed when asked if his visits to either of those events had permitted opportunities to meet Murray or Hamilton. “No, I didn’t,” he replied.
“They’re obviously very busy. In the same way I wouldn’t expect anyone to come up to me 20 minutes before I played golf and try to say hello. I didn’t want to disturb what they were doing.
“It was just nice to be invited down and to go down there and share it with (wife) Nic and see the guys – the best in their respective sports – competing under pressure.”