Land dispute threatens 2016 Olympic course

By Associated PressApril 20, 2012, 8:57 pm

SAO PAULO – A land dispute is threatening construction of the golf course for the 2016 Summer Games, when the sport is to be played at the Olympics for the first time since 1904.

City officials might have to find a new site, meaning the project would start from scratch and possibly not be ready on time for test events in 2015.

The city said in response to The Associated Press it just became aware of the situation Thursday and is ''evaluating the measures it will take.''

It was the first time the city officially recognized there could be an issue involving the land. It had been dismissing the prospect a legal dispute and downplaying problems affecting the course.

A final decision on who owns the golf course land could take months or several years. There are ownership disputes throughout the posh Barra da Tijuca neighborhood, and few are resolved quickly.

American designer Gil Hanse, who will build the course, told the AP on Thursday he had not yet been notified by city officials about the dispute.

''If it was important, they would probably bring it up,'' Hanse said by phone. ''We've been selected to do that particular job and we feel comfortable with the time frame that we have.''

Hanse said he was not worried, but acknowledged that any changes now could affect the project, which was based entirely on the land under dispute.

''If they decided for whatever reason to make changes, you would have to start all over again,'' he said. ''Our design is specifically for that site. You can't just put it someplace else.''

The matter is in the hands of Brazil's Higher Court of Justice. The lawyer from the company disputing the ownership, Elmway Participacoes, says that next week he will ask for the suspension of the city's contracts with the other company that claimed to own the property before it came under the control of the city.

Elmway has won a court battle that was later reversed, but company lawyer Sergio Antunes Lima Jr. says there is ''more than enough'' evidence available to prove the area belongs to his client.

He said he doesn't know whether his client would want to negotiate with the city if the land ownership eventually goes his way.

''My client can do whatever he wants with the land, I don't think it ever crossed his mind to build a golf course there,'' Lima Jr. said. ''Maybe he will want to negotiate with the city, but we don't know yet.''

Elmway Participacoes has been trying to claim ownership of the land for the past three years. The other alleged owner, entrepreneur Pasquale Mauro, has several properties in the region and has won many similar disputes.

A message was left at the law office of Mauro's lawyer, Roberta Mauro Medina Maia, but it was not immediately returned.

Another legal dispute over one of Mauro's lands caused problems for the Brazilian soccer federation a few years ago when it purchased an area from him to build the entity's new headquarters. The delay caused by the dispute at the time made it impossible for the project to be completed before the 2014 World Cup.

Barra is where most Olympic venues will be located in 2016. The course is to be built at the Reserva de Marapendi, about 3 miles from the athletes' village and 4 miles from the main press center and the international broadcast center.

The city currently has the right to build on the land, but at any time a judge could rule that work can't be done until a final decision on the ownership is reached.

''It's a risk that the city, the Olympic committee and the constructors have to evaluate if it's worth taking,'' said Marcos Rolim Fernandes Fontes, a law professor at the renowned Getulio Vargas University in Sao Paulo. ''They are probably very confident that they will win this battle.''

The International Golf Federation said construction on the golf course is expected to start around October, and it should be ready for test events in the beginning of 2015. IGF Vice President Ty Votaw said the federation would not comment on the land dispute because it was a matter handled by the city.

The International Olympic Committee and the Rio 2016 committee didn't immediately answer requests for comment.

Golf made its debut at the second modern Olympics in Paris in 1900 but was removed after the 1904 St. Louis Games. It was reinstated in a vote by the International Olympic Committee in 2009 and has a spot guaranteed in 2020, but a good impression in Rio will be critical in keeping the sport in the games beyond that. Another IOC vote on adding or deleting sports is scheduled for 2017.

Local organizers had considered using existing golf courses in Rio, but eventually decided to build a new one because the renovation projects would likely be too complex and expensive. The Rio 2016 committee wants the venue to become a legacy to the city and serve as a tool for bettering youngsters through sports. It will be used as a public facility after the 2016 Games.

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Sordet opens with 62 to grab lead at Nordea Masters

By Associated PressAugust 16, 2018, 11:23 pm

GOTHENBURG, Sweden - Clement Sordet opened with four straight birdies to shoot 8-under 62 and take the first-round lead of the Nordea Masters on Thursday.

Sordet says ''I wasn't really focusing on the score, I was just enjoying it.''

The Frenchman, who shot his lowest European Tour round, has a two-stroke lead over Scott Jamieson of Scotland and Lee Slattery of England.

Hunter Stewart is the highest-placed American after a 5-under 65 left him on a four-way tie for fourth with Christofer Blomstrand, Tapio Pulkkanen and Richard Green.

Defending champion Renato Paratore's hopes of becoming the first player to successfully retain the title look in doubt after the Italian shot 9-over 79 at Hills Golf Club.

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Peterson confirms plans to play Web.com Finals

By Will GrayAugust 16, 2018, 9:17 pm

After flirting with retirement for much of the summer, John Peterson confirmed that he will give it one more shot in the upcoming Web.com Tour Finals.

Peterson, 29, had planned to walk away from the game and begin a career in real estate in his native Texas if he failed to secure PGA Tour status before his medical extension expired. His T-13 finish last month at The Greenbrier appeared to be enough to net the former NCAA champ at least conditional status, but a closer look at the numbers revealed he missed out by 0.58 points in his last available start.


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But Peterson was buoyed by the support he received from his peers at The Greenbrier, and when he got into the Barbasol Championship as a late alternate he decided to make the trip to the tournament. He tied for 21st that week in Kentucky, clinching enough non-member FedExCup points to grant him a spot in the four-event Finals.

Last month Peterson hinted that he would consider playing in the Finals, where 25 PGA Tour cards for the 2018-19 season will be up for grabs, and Thursday he confirmed in an Instagram post that he will give his pro career "one last push."

The Finals kick off next week in Ohio with the Nationwide Children's Hospital Championship and will conclude Sept. 20-23 with the Web.com Tour Championship. Peterson will be looking to rekindle his results from 2013, when he finished T-5 or better at each of the four Finals events while earning fully-exempt status as the top money earner.

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Lyle honored with sand sculpture at Wyndham

By Golf Channel DigitalAugust 16, 2018, 9:00 pm

Jarrod Lyle passed away last week at the age of 36 after losing his third battle with cancer.

And after a PGA Championship filled with tributes to the Australian, the Wyndham Championship found its own way to keep his legacy alive at the North Carolina Tour stop.

Next to the Wyndham Championship and PGA Tour logos carved into the sand on site at Sedgefield Country Club is Lyle's name and the "Leuk the Duck" mascot. The duck has become synonymous with Challenge, an organization that supports kids with cancer.

Fellow Aussie Stuart Appleby posted the display on social media:

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Lyle was also remembered in a more traditional manner on the first tee, where his bag and trademark yellow bucket hat were prominently displayed.

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Yin (64) steps into spotlight on Day 1 in Indy

By Randall MellAugust 16, 2018, 7:49 pm

American fans will be quick to embrace a young new winner with the U.S. ranks shrinking in women’s golf this summer.

With some of its biggest stars dealing with injuries, swoons or away on maternity leave, the American game could use a boost.

And here comes Angel Yin . . .

She is a major talent looking to break through this week at the Indy Women in Tech Championship. Still a teenager at 19, she moved into early position Thursday to try to win her first title.

With a spectacular start, Yin looked as if she might give the game a pair of 59s on the same day, with Brandt Snedeker posting one at the Wyndham Championship. Yin birdied eight of the first nine holes at Brickyard Crossing Golf Course in Indianapolis before cooling on the back nine. She still shot 8-under-par 64, good for the early lead.

“It just felt good,” Yin said. “Everything was working.”

Yin was knocking down flagsticks on the outward nine.

“I had nine putts on the front nine, which is incredible,” Yin said. “Never had that many little putts.”

With Brickyard Crossing a big hitter’s park, Yin took advantage. She’s one of the longest hitters on tour, ranking fifth in driving distance (272.2 yards per drive).


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Yin has made runs at winning this year. She tied for fourth at the Mediheal Championship in April. She finished third at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship at the end of June, but then missed the cut in three of her next four starts, including the Ricoh Women’s British Open in her last start.

“I was really happy how everything came together [today], because I have been playing well,” Yin said. “I just haven't been scoring.”

Yin introduced herself to the world stage making the American Solheim Cup team last year. She wowed fans and teammates alike bombing her driver in an impressive rookie debut.

“She is fearless,” two-time Rolex Player of the Year Stacy Lewis said going into last year’s Solheim Cup. “The shots she can hit, nobody else can hit. She probably doesn’t quite know how to manage it yet, is the only thing holding her back.”

While Yin is seeking her first professional title, she has won as a pro. She claimed the Omega Dubai Ladies Classic on the Ladies European Tour at the end of last season.

Ying has been a big deal in Southern California for a while now. At 13, she qualified for the U.S. Women’s Open at Blackwolf Run. At 14, she won a junior qualifier to get into the ANA Inspiration and made the cut. At 15, she Monday qualified to get into the LPGA’s Kia Classic. At 16, she won the AJGA’s Annika Invitational, finished runner up in the U.S. Girls’ Junior and played on the U.S. Junior Solheim Cup team.