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The Open: Learn from my error and take some time out, advises Willett

 

On rise: Danny Willett was happy to finish joint sixth at Royal Portrush
On rise: Danny Willett was happy to finish joint sixth at Royal Portrush

By Phil Casey

Former Masters winner Danny Willett has advised new Open champion Shane Lowry to be "selfish" when it comes to approaching the next 12 months as a first-time Major winner.

Irishman Lowry is in his first days in possession of the Claret Jug and already has his first media appearance pencilled in for today in Dublin, barely 48 hours after he teed off in the final round at Royal Portrush.

Willett knows exactly what the 32-year-old will go through over the coming months as three years ago he experienced something similar after becoming the first Englishman since Nick Faldo in 1996 to win at Augusta.

The Yorkshireman admits the demands placed on him after that took their toll and - combined with an untimely back injury and a lack of form - saw him plummet to 462nd in the world.

Willett said he would do it all differently were he to win a Major again and he advised Lowry to think carefully about every opportunity which is offered to him.

"Take some time off. Spend it with your family and friends, enjoy what you accomplished," was the advice.

"It doesn't happen very often. You need to enjoy it and then get yourself back and refocused and try to press on.

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"It's very easy to get pulled in different directions to go play in Asia, to go all over the world.

"Shane has a little one (a daughter) now so he'll be more on trying to stay with his pals and trying to chill out.

"Be a little bit selfish and do what's right for him. Try not to get pulled about and sent around the world to play a bit of golf.

"These (Majors) are the tournaments you need to win and to do that you need to be focused.

"You learn from it and go forward. Next time it happens I will do it differently."

Willett's joint sixth at The Open was his best Major finish since his Masters win, which remains the high point of his career.

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