Rio 2016 to unveil golf course designer during IOC review
Tuesday, 06 March 2012
March 6 - Rio de Janeiro will tomorrow unveil who they have chosen to design the first golf course to be used in an Olympics for more 100 years when the sport makes its return to the Games in 2016.
The announcement is to be the highlight of a three-day visit to the Brazilian city by International Olympic Committee (IOC) inspectors, who, led by Morocco's Nawal El Moutawakel, the chair of the Rio 2016 Coordination Commission, are carrying out a review of preparations.
In addition, the officials will also check on some Olympic venues, including the Athletes' Park, which will open to the public.
Six IOC delegates have made the trip to Rio, including Gilbert Felli, the IOC's executive director of the Olympics, and the trip started with meeting with Carlos Nuzman, the President of Rio 2016, and Brazilian Sports Minister Aldo Rebelo.
The meeting was also attended by Rio Mayor Eduardo Paes and Rio State Governor Sergio Cabral.
"Things are working as expected, planned, although, we of course, we still have much to do," said Paes.
"All is well in the Olympics in Rio."
The winner of the Olympic golf course design will be picked from eight finalists: Gary Player Design, Greg Norman Golf Course Design, Hanse Golf Design, Hawtree Ltd, Nicklaus Design, Renaissance Golf, Robert Trent Jones II and Thomson-Perret Golf Course Architects.
Nicklaus is teaming with women's great Annika Sorenstam on his project, while Norman has a partnership with retired Mexican golfer Lorena Ochoa, the former women's world number one.
Golf is returning to the Games for the first time since being dropped following the 1904 St Louis Olympics, and the opportunity to design the historic course has attracted a lot of interest.
The selection committee is composed of Nuzman, International Golf Federation President Peter Dawson and other local representatives.
Initially, the winner was expected to be announced last December, but the deadline for proposals was extended because none of the bidders initially had the proper legal and financial documentation.
The announcement was then set for last month, but the local committee delayed it so the winner could be revealed during the IOC visit.
The course will be built in the Barra da Tijuca neighbourhood, which will hold most of the Olympic venues.
Besides designing the course, Ochoa, who retired from the LPGA tour two years ago, also wants to play for Mexico in the tournament.
I'd like to be involved in some way because I believe it will be a unique experience," she told Reuters in an interview.
"I can't see myself playing but I would like to be involved, either with the (Mexican Golf) Federation or as a coach, travel with the Mexican team," she said in an interview.
"Greg and I entered [the design competition] as a team.
"There are eight finalists fighting to win [the right] to design the golf course.
"I would love, being Latin and Mexican, to be able to be at those Games and I hope I can."
The IOC delegation are also due to meet Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff on Thursday (March 8).
February 2012: Rio 2016 delays picking golf course designer until March
January 2012: Golf greats pitch designs for Rio 2016
October 2011: Rio 2016 launch international contest to design Olympic Games golf course
September 2011: Legal dispute throws Rio 2016 Olympic golf course into uncertainty
July 2011: Rio 2016 chooses venue for golf course