Stationed in Rio de Janeiro for the past two months, course architect Gil Hanse is only now beginning to see progress on the 2016 Olympic course.
Hanse said Thursday on “Morning Drive” that they will begin clearing the property site in Rio next week and should be able to hit the target dates for test events, but “we’re right up against the deadline now.” Hanse added that the expectation, barring another setback, is that the permits for the more environmentally sensitive parts of the property will be delivered April 1, at which time they can begin pushing dirt.
“From the standpoint of the Olympic course it just seems like there’s this bureaucracy that won’t seem to let its tentacles go,” he said. “I’m disappointed in that and disappointed in myself because I thought, Oh gosh, it’s the Olympics, they’ve got to be able to move this through. And unfortunately I was dead wrong with that.”
The Olympic course, which was originally scheduled to begin development last October, has endured several delays over a land dispute.
“We’re being as patient as we can,” Hanse said, “and we still feel like we’re in the time frame to get ready for test events in 2015. But we’re right up against the deadline now.”
Hanse said he committed to be in Rio to focus solely on the project “for a long period of time,” predicated on the October start date. Now, though, “we’ve just lost six months of my undivided attention.” He is also supposed to lead the renovation at Doral, which is scheduled to begin sometime in the next month.
“They’re standing still,” said Hanse, who has been working at Gavea Golf Club in Rio. “It’s been very frustrating.”