Masters Champion Willett prepares an Augusta feast

Charles WHELAN
Danny Willett of England smiles on the ninth green at Augusta National Golf Club on April 3, 2017

Masters champion Danny Willett, who won the green jacket against all odds last year, is planning an Augusta feast Tuesday for fellow champions ahead of his bid to retain the title.

The current champion traditionally chooses the menu and hosts a dinner for past winners and the 29-year-old Englishman from Sheffield is bringing a taste of home to the 81st Masters.

The menu includes roast beef and Yorkshire pudding washed down by Yorkshire tea, and "hopefully they will enjoy this little taste of Yorkshire," said Willett.

Willett won the Masters last year on the final nine holes after a spectacular collapse at Amen Corner by rising US star Jordan Speith, who went into the back nine five shots up but hit an incredible quadruple bogey on the par-3 12th hole.

Willett held his nerve to win the green jacket but has struggled to reach those heights again, failing to win since his Augusta triumph.

"You have achieved the greatest high in your sport," he explained. "You have climbed Everest and put up your flag there. You have to stay up there or climb down."

"The past 12 months has made me impatient," Willett admitted, saying it was hard to accept playing at a lower standard compared to the peak he reached at the 2016 Masters.

"If you can't do that every time, you become a bit impatient. This is where this game jumps up and bites you.

"It is not that easy. You can't just do it week in week out."

But Willett, ranked 17th, said that he has put in the hard yards in the tune up to this year's Masters and is back playing some of his best golf -- more than ready to defend his crown.

"Practice is world class right now," he said. "Unfortunately, it's not quite carrying over into competition."

That carry over, he says, is only a question of time.

"If you put in the hard work, there is an inevitability that you will get back up there again," he said.

Willett was the first Englishman to win the Masters since Nick Faldo in 1996 but he suggested that more countrymen are waiting in the wings to become Masters contenders.

He said English golf was enjoying something of a golden age at the moment with a record 11 players in the Augusta field.

"There is a new race of guys my age or under," he said. "I don't think it will be long before you see these guys step it up again in major championships."