Olympics: Danny Willett’s delight at decision to play in Rio

Danny Willett
Danny Willett
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Danny Willett admits he is delighted to have made the decision to compete in golf’s return to the Olympics.

The Sheffield golfer says when he tees off on Thursday, it will be equivalent of the starting gun being sounded in the 100m final.

Golf’s place at the Rio Games has proved a controversial one with numerous leading names – including the top four players in the world – opting out of competition, most citing the Zika virus.

Such reasoning has come under question, particularly after comments from the absent Rory McIlroy who said he probably will not be watching the tournament and would rather focus on Olympic sports that matter.

But world number nine Willett is in no doubt that he made the decision to chase Olympic gold after arriving in Brazil earlier this week.

“It’s cool, a very cool experience,” he said. “I’m happy I kept the decision to come down and play and I’m very happy with my decision to stay in the Olympic Village, to get the full feeling of what goes into it, of how much the whole of Britain as a team comes together.

“It’s just an amazing experience to sit across from Andy Murray at breakfast and his brother Jamie is in the apartments, too.

“You chat a bit to them about things.

“You have breakfast with Jess Ennis-Hill in the morning... things that you normally wouldn’t be able to do.

“To be able to bring athletes from so many sports together, I think there is no down side to it.”

Justin Rose is the other male golfer representing Team GB and Willett wants a British gold-silver come Sunday, preferably with himself standing atop the podium

“Me and Rosey had a good nine holes (of practice), talking through different things and you’re helping each other out still,” the 28-year-old said.

“But come Thursday morning, it’s like the gun goes off at a 100m final.

“You’re trying for yourself, aren’t you? I’d love for me and Rosey to get a gold and silver, but I’m not going to stand here and say I’d prefer Rosey to get a gold, it doesn’t work that way.”

Willett tees off at 1.03pm on Thursday alongside American Matt Kuchar and China’s Li Haotong.

The race for gold will be competed over a four round strokeplay format.