Olympic course designer decision close

By March 6, 2012, 3:44 am

A winning design for the 2016 Olympic golf course could be announced this week in Brazil.

With the arrival of the International Olympic Committee for a project review meeting, the Rio2016 Organizing Committee may reveal the winning plan and architect.

The finalists for the $300,000 design contract are Gary Player Design, Greg Norman and Lorena Ochoa, Gil Hanse, Martin Hawtree, Jack Nicklaus and Annika Sorenstam, Tom Doak’s Renaissance Golf, Robert Trent Jones II (with Brazilian golf legend Mario Gonzalez) and Thomson-Perret Golf Course Architects (teaming with LPGA Hall of Famer Karrie Webb).

Last month, Rio2016 delayed the announcement by a month after its four-member jury panel was unable to select a winner.

The delay was another in a string of setbacks which pinch the window for the course to be ready for the sport’s return to the Olympics after a 112-year absence. Originally, the winner was to be announced in December 2011.

In February, the eight finalists presented their visions for the Olympic course, which will be built on the Reserva de Marapendi site close to the Olympic village.

As for the favorite, it seems the eight plans have been reduced to two or three favorites.

“I think it’s up in the air,” finalist Gil Hanse said last week in a telephone interview.

Jack Nicklaus and Annika Sorenstam, both named ambassadors in 2008 for the pitch to get golf back in the Olympics, were thought to be front-runners. Before the city was awarded the Olympics, Martin Hawtree had been contracted to develop a routing for a course on the site, which conceivably gives him a leg up on the competition. It is believed, however, that the minimalist plans of other designers were also appealing to the panel because of their environmental concerns about the site.

Not only is there no designer to contract with yet, but the land for the site still has to be formally purchased.

Though the site poses minimal construction problems, wildlife on the site is an environmental concern. Some 500 alligators live on the property, as well as a variety of birds.

The time frame to complete the project could become a problem. The winner will already be lagging by three months against the original timeline. Beginning in the fall, dirt will be moved for what is projected to be a 12-month project. Give the course a year to grow in and mature – which, as the USGA’s experience last summer at the renovated Congressional proves, is aggressive – before a 2015 test event must be held to test the track.

“You basically only have 2 ½ years to build a golf course and grow it in. It's a big effort,” Greg Norman said last year.

Last week, Jack Nicklaus said at the Honda Classic, “I think they have got plenty of time. They are all right.  I know Tim’s (Finchem) upset about it, and I know that he's worried about whether the Olympics will be able to put the right foot forward or not.  But as far as construction of the golf course, I don't think it's a big issue.”

The consensus, however, seems somewhere in between.

“A one-month delay won’t kill anything,” said Hanse. “If it’s a precursor of things to come, then, yes, that’s a problem.”

Aside from time, the nature of the Olympics poses a design quandary. The course must be able to accommodate the men for the first week, followed by the women in the second.

No such competitive precedent exists, but two years from now  the USGA will conduct the U.S. Open and U.S. Women’s Open in consecutive weeks at Pinehurst No. 2.

Don Padgett II, president of Pinehurst, said last April that the women would play essentially the same course as the men – but with more accessible pins and less firm conditions.

Beyond the Olympic tournament, the course has to be accessible to and able to inspire Brazilian and South American golfers. It is the stated purpose of the course after the Games and critical to golf’s future beyond 2020 as an Olympic sport.

“The IGF (International Golf Federation) views the course as an extremely important concept in promoting golf, especially in developing countries,” Hanse said.

If the ’16 Games are a flop, golf may make a quick exit. For golf to truly gain from the exposure, it will need more than four weeks of exposure over the next eight years – making every stoe of this process critical.

Scott Ferrell, president of Gary Player Design, said in December, 'I think for it to really have a meaningful impact long-term, (golf's) going to need more than just two Olympics.”

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Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 11:27 pm

Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.

The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.

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Rose leads Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs

By Associated PressDecember 15, 2017, 2:04 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose completed the final two holes of his second round early Saturday for a 3-under 69 and a one-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose, who had a first-round 62, was among a quarter of the field forced off the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course after weather delays on Friday.

The Englishman, who bogeyed his last hole, had a two-round total of 13-under 131.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who completed his 64 on Friday, was in second place.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters. He has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season.

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 2, Donald Trump

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 1:00 pm

Even away from the White House, President Donald Trump generated plenty of headlines this year.

Trump’s first year in office didn’t dim his enthusiasm for the game, as he made splashy appearances at two big events, tweeted about golf to his more than 44 million followers, teed it up with some of the sport’s biggest stars, including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Lexi Thompson, and fired a few eyebrow-raising scores. Logging more than 75 rounds since his inauguration, the 3-handicap has only bolstered his reputation as the best golfing president, particularly after his alleged 73 with Sen. Lindsey Graham.

None of his appearances created a bigger stir than when he attended the U.S. Women’s Open. Despite protests and calls for the USGA to move its premier women’s event from Trump Bedminster – the president reportedly threatened to sue – his weekend there went off without incident, as Trump watched the action and hosted players in his private box near the 15th green.

Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year

Despite his controversial rhetoric on a variety of national issues, Trump has remained a staunch supporter of women’s golf, and he became the first sitting president to attend the U.S. Women’s Open.

An honorary chairman of the Presidents Cup, Trump also flew to Liberty National for the biennial team event, where he presented the trophy to the U.S. team and dedicated the victory to the hurricane victims in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.

In late November, amid tweets about the national anthem, Turkey, Egypt and Time Magazine, Trump announced that he was playing a round in South Florida with Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.

Yes, that too became a headline, just like everything else Trump did in 2017.

Playing with the pros

Tiger, DJ and Faxon

Article: Video, images from Tiger, DJ's round with Trump

Article: After DJ and Tiger, Trump plays golf with Jack

Rory faces criticism

Article: Rory: Round with Trump about respect for presidency

Article: Rory: Round with Trump not a 'political statement'

President at the Presidents Cup

Video: President Trump makes the rounds at Liberty National

Article: President Trump presents trophy to U.S. team

Article: Stricker: 'Great thrill' to get trophy from Trump

Purported round of 73 with Lindsey Graham

Article: Senator tweets Trump shot 73 in windy, wet conditions

Article: Graham offers details on Trump's round of 73

Cart on the green

Article: Trump appears to drive cart on Bedminster green

Presence and protests at U.S. Women's Open

Article: Trump makes presidential history at Women's Open

Article: Trump supporters, protesters clash near Women's Open

Article: UltraViolet takes protest inside Trump National

Photo gallery: President Trump at the U.S. Women's Open

Trump golf properties


Article: Environmental group vandalizes Trump golf course

Article: Man accused of vandalizing four Trump courses


Article: Two Trump courses in Scotland losing millions

Article: Eric Trump denies Russia helped fund golf courses

Article: Trump company ordered to pay $5.77M in dues dispute

Reportedly fake TIME covers

Article: Trump clubs display fake Time magazine cover

Trump apologizes for voter-fraud story

Report: Trump's voter fraud claim tied to Langer

Langer: Trump 'apologized' for story mix-up

Pros comment on the president

Article: Players defend Trump at Senior PGA Championship

Article: Trump congratulates Daly; Daly congratulates Trump

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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 12:30 pm