When Willett met Klopp

Danny Willett, the 2016 Masters champion
Danny Willett, the 2016 Masters champion

Masters champion and Liverpool fan Danny Willett will hope bumping into Jurgen Klopp on his arrival in Germany will provide him with inspiration ahead of the BMW International Open.

The Yorkshireman had just touched down at Dusseldorf airport, complete with his Green Jacket earned from his Augusta win in a carry bag over his shoulder, when he met the Reds boss on his way out for a family holiday.

He had time to grab a photograph with the German and a quick chat, which centred around football and not golf.

“That was very nice,” said Willett, who tied for 37th at last week’s US Open.

“We landed at the airport and Jurgen was about to fly out on holiday with his family after a fairly busy season.

“I have been to Anfield a couple of times this season so it was pretty cool to meet him.

“We didn’t talk much about golf to be honest, it was mostly football.

“He is a pretty inspirational character and is obviously hugely popular here in Germany.”

Willett now has to turn his thoughts back to the day job as he returns to the course where he registered his maiden European Tour win in 2012, setting him on the path to triumph at Augusta four years later.

The last two years is when things really began to pick up pace for the 28-year-old with two wins in 2015 followed by victory in the Dubai Desert Classic in February just before his Masters success.

“I have done everything a little bit better each day, each week, got injury-free and the last two years have really come on in what we have achieved,” he told europeantour.com on his return to Golf Club Gut Larchenhof in Pulheim.

“It’s nice to be back here. There are some lovely memories from that week (in 2012).

“It was just more confirmation that I could compete out here and win.

“There are so many great players at the start of every week that it is very difficult to win and you never really know that you can do it until you get it over the line.

“That win gave me a lot of belief and confidence and proved to me that I could win at a pretty high level.

“Any time you can be up there and in contention then your confidence grows.”

Sweden’s Henrik Stenson is back in action less than a week after pulling out of the US Open before the end of his second round with neck, back and knee injuries.

As a former winner, finishing second in 2014 and 10th two years previously, it was an event he did not want to miss.

“We all have certain tournaments that we have on our schedule year in, year out, and this is certainly one of them,” he said.

“I’ve been quite successful both at this course and down in Munich when I won in ‘06.”