US Open: Masters winner Danny Willett says life in public eye is 'tricky'

Danny Willett and Rory McIlroy
Willett and McIlroy assess the conditions at Oakmont
2016 US Open
Venue: Oakmont Country Club, Pennsylvania Dates: June 16-19
Coverage: Listen live on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra from 22:00 BST and follow live text on the BBC Sport website from 13:00 BST on Thursday.

Danny Willett says he has found life in the public eye "tricky" since winning the Masters in April.

The 28-year-old Englishman, who won his first major at Augusta in April, is preparing for the US Open at Oakmont, which starts on Thursday.

Willett will play alongside 2011 winner Rory McIlroy for the first two rounds.

He said: "The last couple of months, I can't remember a practice session or a tournament that's not being filmed or where a microphone is not nearby."

After winning the opening major of the year, victory for Willett at Oakmont would put him halfway to becoming the first man to win all four major tournaments in a calendar year.

"I am relatively surprised that no-one has done it, but for the rest of the time I'm going to be playing golf, I honestly can't see it happening too much, just purely because of the strength and depth of the field," he said.

Willett expects 'fun' with McIlroy

Willett has played only three times since the Masters - missing the cut at the Players Championship, sharing 23rd place at the Irish Open, and finishing third at the PGA at Wentworth.

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McDowell relishing Oakmont test

In McIlroy and Rickie Fowler, Willett will spend the first half of the US Open with two of the top five players in the world rankings.

He said: "I played with Rory when we were amateurs and it should be fun on Thursday and Friday. He's a fantastic example of how athletic golf is these days."

Oakmont, last used for this tournament when Angel Cabrera won in 2007, when five-over par was the winning score, is a typically brutal US Open course, a 7,219-yard par-70 set-up with 210 bunkers and a 288-yard par three.

Winning would be McIlroy's 'biggest accomplishment'

Rory McIlroy
Rory McIlroy won the 2011 US Open by eight shots

McIlroy believes repeating his success in 2011, when he took advantage of a rain-softened course at Congressional to win with a record 16-under-par total, would rank among his career highs.

The 27-year-old Northern Irishman, who has won four majors, said: "You know you're going to be put under a lot of pressure on every single shot you hit out there.

"To be able to win on a course like this, with the conditions the way they are, it would be maybe my biggest accomplishment in the game.

"It definitely would make me feel like a more complete player."

Rose ready for 'toughest test'

Justin Rose
Justin Rose became the first Englishman to win the US Open for 43 years when he topped the leaderboard at Merion in 2013

Justin Rose, winner of the 2013 US Open, is expecting to face "the toughest greens in golf".

But the 35-year-old admits he is just glad to be playing after overcoming a back injury.

Rose said: "It's been a race against the clock for me to be fit and ready to play here. Since the Players Championship I have been recovering from a flared-up disc.

"I have done everything humanly possible to be here from a recovery point of view, from a fitness point of view, from a practice point of view.

"It's been a tight timetable but I'm confident I've done a lot of the hard work.

"I'm coming in fresh, which is the great news. That could be an advantage come the end of the week."

'I'd love to go to Rio'

World number two Jordan Spieth said on Monday he intended to play at the Rio Olympics this summer, despite concerns over the Zika virus.

Australians Marc Leishman and Adam Scott have already withdrawn because of Zika - an infection linked to brain deformities in newborn babies - but McIlroy expects to play.

Willett said he would "love to go".

He added: "It's still up in the air. There's obviously a bit of a worry as you've seen from the guys that have pulled out.

"Hopefully the threat is a bit less and we can go there."

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