Rio mayor to face inquiry over Olympic course misconduct

By Associated PressFebruary 20, 2015, 10:11 pm

RIO DE JANEIRO - The mayor of Rio de Janeiro will face an inquiry into alleged misconduct in the construction of a golf course for the 2016 Olympics in a nature reserve, according to documents provided by the public prosecutors' office Friday.

Golf's return to the Olympics after a more than century-long absence was meant to be triumphal, but the construction of the course in the Marapendi nature reserve — a narrow strip of green in the heart of one of Rio's fastest-growing neighborhoods — has been dogged by legal wrangling and protests by activists.

The inquiry into Mayor Eduardo Paes was opened earlier this month by prosecutor Alberto Flores Camargo following a complaint by the environmental group Golf For Whom, which contends the city has harmed taxpayers by allowing a private developer to build the course at what is expected to be a massive financial gain.

The documents released Friday represent yet another possible legal imbroglio surrounding the golf course. In a separate case, the state prosecutors' office has alleged ground was broken without the necessary environmental impact studies and other legal requirements.

The documents show that Camargo is deciding whether to bring civil charges of "misconduct causing damage to the public treasury" against Rio's mayor over allegations he helped pave the way for the golf course developer to make a hefty profit on its $21 million investment. The activists allege developers stand to earn some $350 million, according to the documents.

"It must be verified whether the benefits granted (to the developer) were excessive compared with the compensation demanded by the city, which would cause damage to the public treasury," the documents said.

The activists allege the city government gerrymandered the boundaries of the nature reserve and changed area zoning laws in order to allow for the construction of the course, as well as a neighboring complex of luxury residential towers, called Riserva Golf.

Buildings in the area used to be capped at six stories, but the four towers that make up the Riserva Golf complex are expected to stand some 20 stories high.

Officials with the Rio state prosecutors' office say the inquiry could last up to a year, with the prosecutor ultimately deciding to shelve the complaint or bring charges against the mayor.

A civil conviction on misconduct charges could result in a public official being forced out of office or banned from holding another public office for up to 10 years, the officials said. Paes took office in 2009, and his second term will end in 2016.

Because the inquiry does not challenge the legality of golf course, it will not affect its construction.

While the documents say that copies were sent to City Hall, as well as to the developers, a spokeswoman for Mayor Paes said in an email that "City Hall has not been officially informed about this particular matter."

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McCoy earns medalist honors at Web.com Q-School

By Will GrayDecember 11, 2017, 12:30 am

One year after his budding career was derailed by a car accident, Lee McCoy got back on track by earning medalist honors at the final stage of Web.com Tour Q-School.

McCoy shot a final-round 65 at Whirlwind Golf Club in Chandler, Ariz., to finish the 72-hole event at 28 under. That total left him two shots ahead of Sung-Jae Im and guaranteed him fully-exempt status on the developmental circuit in 2018.

It's an impressive turnaround for the former University of Georgia standout who finished fourth at the 2016 Valspar Championship as an amateur while playing alongside Jordan Spieth in the final round. But he broke his wrist in a car accident the day before second stage of Q-School last year, leaving him without status on any major tour to begin the year.

McCoy was not the only player who left Arizona smiling. Everyone in the top 10 and ties will be exempt through the first 12 events of the new Web.com Tour season, a group that includes former amateur standouts Curtis Luck (T-3), Sam Burns (T-10) and Maverick McNealy (T-10).

Players who finished outside the top 10 but inside the top 45 and ties earned exemptions into the first eight events of 2018. That group includes Cameron Champ (T-16), who led the field in driving at this year's U.S. Open as an amateur, and Wyndham Clark (T-23).

Everyone who advanced to the final stage of Q-School will have at least conditional Web.com Tour status in 2018. Among those who failed to secure guaranteed starts this week were Robby Shelton, Rico Hoey, Jordan Niebrugge, Joaquin Niemann and Kevin Hall.

Els honored with Heisman Humanitarian Award

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 10, 2017, 11:41 pm

The annual Heisman Trophy award ceremony is one of the biggest moments in any football season, but there was a touching non-football moment as well on Saturday night as Ernie Els received the Heisman Humanitarian Award.

The award, which had been announced in August, recognized Els' ongoing efforts on behalf of his Els for Autism foundation. Els received the award at Manhattan's PlayStation Theater, where Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield won the Heisman Trophy.

Els, 47, founded Els for Autism in 2009 with his wife after their son, Ben, was diagnosed with autism. Their efforts have since flourished into a 26-acre campus in Jupiter, Fla., and the creation of the Els Center for Excellence in 2015.

The Heisman Humanitarian Award has been given out since 2006. Past recipients include NBA center David Robinson, NFL running back Warrick Dunn, soccer star Mia Hamm and NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon.

A native of South Africa, Els won the U.S. Open in 1994 and 1997 and The Open in 2002 and 2012. He has won 19 times on the PGA Tour and was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2011.

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Monday finish for Joburg Open; Sharma leads by 4

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 10, 2017, 8:57 pm

Rain, lightning and hail pushed the Joburg Open to a Monday finish, with India’s Shubhankar Sharma holding a four-stroke lead with 11 holes to play in Johannesburg.

Play is scheduled to resume at 7:30 a.m. local time.

South Africa’s Erik van Rooyen will have a 3-foot putt for birdie to move within three shots of Sharma wen play resumes at the Randpark Golf Club. Sarma is at 22 under par.

Tapio Pulkkanen of Finland and James Morrison of England are tied for third at 14 under. Pulkkanen has 10 holes remaining, Morrison 11.

The top three finishers who are not already exempt, will get spots in next year’s Open Championship at Carnoustie.

 

 

Stricker, O'Hair team to win QBE Shootout

By Will GrayDecember 10, 2017, 8:55 pm

It may not count in the official tally, but Steve Stricker is once again in the winner's circle on the PGA Tour.

Stricker teamed with Sean O'Hair to win the two-person QBE Shootout, as the duo combined for a better-ball 64 in the final round to finish two shots clear of Graeme McDowell and Shane Lowry. It's the second win in this event for both men; Stricker won with Jerry Kelly back in 2009 while O'Hair lifted the trophy with Kenny Perry in 2012.

Stricker and O'Hair led wire-to-wire in the 54-hole, unofficial event after posting a 15-under 57 during the opening-round scramble.

"We just really gelled well together," Stricker said. "With his length the first day, getting some clubs into the greens, some short irons for me, we just fed off that first day quite a bit. We felt comfortable with one another."


Full-field scores from the QBE Shootout


Stricker won 12 times during his PGA Tour career, most recently at the 2012 Tournament of Champions. More recently the 50-year-old has been splitting his time on the PGA Tour Champions and captained the U.S. to a victory at the Presidents Cup in October. O'Hair has four official Tour wins, most recently at the 2011 RBC Canadian Open.

Pat Perez and Brian Harman finished alone in third, four shots behind Stricker and O'Hair. Lexi Thompson and Tony Finau, the lone co-ed pairing in the 12-team event, finished among a tie for fourth.