By Larry Fine
SPRINGFIELD, New Jersey (Reuters) – Masters champion Danny Willett said he was looking forward to the Rio Olympics next month and another chance to shine on the world golf stage.
Willett birdied his last two holes to close with a level 70 on the drenched Baltusrol layout at the PGA Championship on Sunday, but finished on five-over 285, hurt by a third-round 74 for another 2016 major disappointment since his Augusta triumph.
“It’s a little disappointing, obviously,” Willett told reporters after leaving the scoring tent. “After a memorable opening it’s not quite come down as we have hoped.”
Willett tied for 37th at the U.S. Open at Oakmont and tied for 53rd at the British Open at Royal Troon after collecting his maiden major title.
The 28-year-old Englishman now looks ahead to some down time to recharge and then to play in golf’s return to the Olympic stage after an absence of 112 years.
“Going down to Florida for a week, chill out for a few days and then off to Rio on Saturday or Sunday,” Willett said.
“I think everyone going to Rio is looking forward to it. It’s getting close now, a lot of guys heading down there already,” he said.
“A lot of athletes are already in the villages. By the time we get there the place will be absolutely buzzing. I’m looking forward to watching the opening ceremony on TV because I won’t be there yet. But watching on TV, you kind of get the scale of it.”
Willett said he felt he was striking the ball well, but not getting good results with his putting, taking 32 putts in each of the four rounds.
“The putting is not great,” he said. “I struggled a little bit.
“It’s just not all quite come together the same time. Every miss today led to bogey. I missed three fairways, made three bogeys.”
(Editing by Mark Lamport-Stokes)