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Danny Willett to play through the pain barrier at The Open

Danny Willett admits he may need painkillers to get him through next week’s Open at Royal Birkdale.

The 2016 Masters champion has pulled out of three of his last five events due to a back injury, including last month’s US Open and the Irish Open just over a week ago.

The 29-year-old Yorkshireman is now trying to ease himself back into action and played a practice round at the Southport links on Sunday.

Willett said: “We’ve had a full week off resting with the back, so we’ll see.

“We’ve just played 18 and it’d didn’t feel too bad. I’ll play nine in the next couple of days and hopefully it’ll be all right.

“We were always going to come and see how it was instead of pulling out early. It’s the Open Championship. You need to come here, even if you have to get a few drugs inside you to get through the week. That’s how it’s going to go.

“You never know [if it will be okay] until you go off on Thursday, but at the moment it feels all right.”

Willett is not on heavy medication but has been taking tablets for pain and inflammation.

It has been a frustrating situation and Willett feels he has been trapped in a circle where injury has led to poor form and that in turn has exacerbated his fitness issues.

He said: “I’ve had better spells. It’s been one thing after an another. I’ve had a little bit of injury then not swinging it great. Then, if you’re not swinging it great, it doesn’t help the body.

“I’m trying to click the reset button and get back to a few things that I know work.”

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