Players Championship 2017: Danny Willett withdraws, says "body and mind need a rest"

May 12, 2017
THE PLAYERS Championship - Round Two

Jennifer Perez

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- Danny Willett's bunker shot came out low, skidding across the green, before trickling over the edge, and . . . splash. Many golfers will find the water on TPC Sawgrass' 17th this week at the Players, but this unusual route seemed particularly deflating.

After trudging back to the drop area, Willett hit the green and two-putted for a triple-bogey 6. Even with a solid par on 18, the 2016 Masters champ shot 40 on his opening nine on Friday following a first-round 79. Shortly after, he withdrew.

In a tweet, Willett explained his "body and mind need a rest."

It's been a struggle for Willett since slipping on the green jacket last April. In six stroke-play events on the PGA Tour this season, his best finish was a solo 69th at the no-cut WGC-Mexico Championship.

On Tuesday, BBC Sport reported Willett and longtime caddie Jonathan Smart parted ways.

"Things are a bit stale and kind of fizzled out," Willett told BBC Sport. "It is a shame. But things happen and change, everything happens for a reason."

When Willett will tee it up next is unknown, but The European Tour's flagship event, the BMW PGA Championship in Willett's home country is in two weeks.