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OLYMPIC GAMES RIO 2016: GOLF

August 9, 2016

Danny Willett

Rio De Janeiro, Brazil

Q. How good it feel to be an Olympic athlete?
DANNY WILLETT: It's cool. It's a very cool experience. Obviously being ash it, I'm happy I kept the decision to come down and play. I'm very happy with my decision to stay in the Olympic Village, to get the real full feeling of what goes into it, of how much the whole of Britain as a team come together.
Yeah, it's just an amazing experience to be around. You sit at breakfast, Andy Murray is across the hall from Jaime in the apartments. You chat a bit to them about a little bit about things. You have breakfast with Jessica Ennis-Hill in the morning, you chat again, you know what I mean. It's things that you naturally wouldn't be able to do. So to be able to bring athletes from so many sports together, I think there are no down sides to it.

Q. Did you know Jess before from Yorkshire?
DANNY WILLETT: I've only met her once at a charity do there. I think it was a golf charity do and she was just there, but not really properly spoke to her. It was cool, we had a bit of a chat. Obviously.
We're all pretty close together, all the lads, we're in quite a small area and stuff. She doesn't start for another two or three days, so like I said, you pass everyone in the corridors and they are either a physio, a trainer, helping out here, there or everywhere or an Olympic athlete.
There's probably, I don't know, 500 people in that block of apartments who you're all looking at how everyone else is doing. It's a unique feeling. It's one that feels pretty good to be part of.

Q. Do you look at the people and try and guess the sport?
DANNY WILLETT: It is interesting. It is interesting. You walk past a few and wonder who and what they are. You can definitely tell who the trainers and the physios are.

Q. Is there any elements of picking their brains?
DANNY WILLETT: No, not really, because you are kind of just letting them do their own thing. You don't want to get too much chatting about something. You don't want to say the wrong thing, just like I wouldn't want someone to say the wrong thing asking silly questions. Me and Johnny might ask a few tips about tennis. We played tennis last night. We got some racquets off the lads next door.
Yeah, potentially after you've seen them a few more times, you might do, but when you first meet someone, it's like not the first thing you get right into, so no, not as of yet.
But just being able to chat with them normally, it's nice to mix with people at the top of their game. Every week, we get 156 guys, you can sit at dinner with the top guys in the world at one sport, but in there you can sit with a Top‑10 person in 25 sports. Like I said, it's very, very unique.

Q. Does it feel different? Normally we are the biggest show in town if it's a major and we are just now in golf, one small show in a very big show. Do you feel a sense it's different?
DANNY WILLETT: The build up to majors and Olympics‑‑ unfortunately the buildup to this, for a golfer, it doesn't feel the same, because an event, like I say, when you're at a major, that is the one thing going on. You've got 200,000 people flocking just to watch 18 holes of golf.
Whereas out here, I don't know how many sports there are in the Olympics, 28, we're a very small percentage‑‑ what is it, three percent, three and a half percent of an entire thing, it's just not as big as‑‑ I don't think it's as big as a major in terms of buildup and stuff like that.
But I think from Sunday, when there's, say, seven or eight guys coming down the stretch, in top three place, I think you're going to see a very different spin on it.
I think it's great that they have given exemptions obviously for the Gold Medal winner for four majors. We were just speaking at lunch, it would have been cool if they had offered kind of on a staggering scale, invites into the other majors. Just, you know, I think that if you finish third out here, I think you've played great.
The field strength this week, I know that people aren't here but the field strength is still very, very good. Still a lot of World Ranking points up for grabs and there's three medals.

Q. Is there any sense after the attention you've had all year, is it nice to get out here and play around with no one watching a practice round?
DANNY WILLETT: This is the most fun I've had for a long time. Me and Johnny have been on the range, there's no one there. Obviously it's closed to public, spectators Monday through Wednesday, as are I think all the other sports that people can't go and watch the training sessions.
It's kind of funny in that way, usually we're signing autographs and every day, out on the golf course, takes you an extra 45 minutes to sign stuff. It's quite nice in that respect. And then like you say, me and rosy play today, and we had Spency and Nigel walking around and that's it. You're chatting golf, you're throwing some golf down and you've not got the whole parade of 15 thousand people watching, cheering on things. You're just there back to playing golf.
Been training in the gym with the British guys, and it's just a cool feeling. It's kind of gone back a little bit to, you know, before I've been any good (laughter) and actually working properly, which at the end of the day, that's what got us here and that's what we're trying to get back to.

Q. The field, is that a source of inspiration in itself?
DANNY WILLETT: It definitely is when you're back in the village. Obviously out here, yeah, we're all chatting. Me and Rosey had a good nine holes today, talking through different things, you're helping each other out still. But come Thursday morning, it's like the gun goes off at a 100‑metre final. The guys might be chatting, might be helping to stretch, and as soon as the gun goes off, you're trying for yourself, aren't you.
So I think you'll see a very different vibe around this place come Thursday. Saying that, I'd love for me and Rosey to get a gold and say 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.
Like I said, still a very individual sport but we're under the same banner of Team GB, and you know, just like I said, it's very, very different. Similar to the tennis, not even athletes can come in and watch other athletes train, unless they are in that sport themselves.
It is a very cool‑‑ it's just the whole experience, it's very, very different. Fantastic, and like I said, I'm very glad that we came down and we stayed committed.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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