Danny Willett is desperately looking to recover his form as focus shifts from Rio to the Ryder Cup.
Willett finished 16 shots off the pace in a tie for 37th as British team-mate Justin Rose became the first Olympic golf champion in 112 years.
Since winning the green jacket in Augusta, little has gone right for Willett, who will make his Ryder Cup debut at Hazeltine next month,
His third place at the European PGA Championship is his best performance, while he missed two cuts before distant finishes in his last two outings, at the Open and USPGA Championship. He was never in contention in Brazil and he cut a disconsolate figure as he trooped off the 18th green, following a three over par final round 74, his worst yet. “It’s been pretty poor to be honest and that’s disappointing but I’ve been really looking forward to this,” said the world number nine.
“Nothing went my way. Obviously I’m not quite firing at the moment but it’s not like anything major is going wrong. It’s been a busy few months but I absolutely don’t regret coming to the Olympics, I’ve been part of a bit of history and I’ll be able to call myself an Olympian forever; a nice thing to tell the grand kids.”
The purists remains sniffy about golf’s involvement at the Olympics, arguing that these pampered millionaires should aim their private jets somewhere else and that the Games should be - and never will be for golf - the pinnacle.
That argument wasn’t helped when a clutch of the top players, including Jason Day, Jordan Spieth, Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy, all stayed away citing fears about Zika virus. It was always a fig leaf excuse, the truth being that the Olympics simply wasn’t a priority but trying tell that to Rose, who battled all the way to the final hole in a gripping conclusion.
Rose has embraced the unique experience and been a real team player, with a succession of athletes, across all sports, speaking about the time he’s given them.
But once the action started, the world number 12’s class showed. A hole in one on the opening round underlined his intent and he took a one shot lead into the final round.
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