Date: July 23, 2015
Author: Martin Blake

Olympic course is ready

This is the controversy-riddled golf course that will host the first Olympic golf tournament since 1904 at Rio de Janeiro next year.

The course, designed by Gil Hanse, is basically completed after long delays and disputes that ended up in local courts.

The International Golf Federation is planning a test event at the venue early next year.

"We're happy to report that the golf course itself is virtually complete and we are now in full grow-in mode," said Ty Votaw, the vice president of the IGF.

"We've had a very good first year through the spring and summer months in Rio, and we're pleased with the overall progress that has been made to date."

There is continuing work on the clubhouse and the infrastructure around the course.

The test event will most likely be a one-day event, with some of the world’s top professionals to be invited.

"We're in the process of working with world-class players on both the men's and women's side of the game to look at that schedule and what would work best for all the various tours around the world to make that happen," said Votaw.

Sixty men and sixty women will compete in Rio, where golf is rejoining the Olympic family after an absence of more than a century years.

The places will utilise the world golf rankings, with a maximum of four players from each country (provided those players are in the top 15).

Under the current men’s and women’s rankings, Jason Day, Adam Scott, Karrie Webb and Minjee Lee would qualify for Australia.

Day, the world No. 9, said this week that he was already pondering his schedule next year in anticipation of representing Australia.

“It's history being able to look back on it and tell a story one day and what you did, where it was, what happened,’’ he said. “It would be a good moment just to capture in time. One thing that I do want to do is I want to represent my country in the Olympics. It would be amazing to win the medal.’’