After a legal dispute between Olympic organizers and local land owners delayed construction of Rio’s Olympic golf course for months, renowned course architect Gil Hanse is hopeful — but not exactly confident — that the project will be completed on time.
In an interview with CNN’s Shane O’Donoghue, Hanse says he “feel[s] good right now that we’re gonna hit [a June 2015]” opening date, just in time for a test event in August, exactly one year ahead of the Olympic Golf Tournament. If the issues impeding progress have yet to be resolved in a few months time, however, “then my tone might be a little more pessimistic.”
Among those obstacles: Hanse is still waiting for the course’s irrigation system to arrive so that he can start grassing completed holes.
“The way it’s gone is really, I don’t think, the way it was depicted to any of the eight of us who were initially vying for the position,” Hanse told O’Donoghue. “None of us were lead to understand how actively involved … the land owners would be in the process and how sometimes the decision-making processes have not gone the way we would have liked to have seen them go. From that standpoint, it’s been a little bit more difficult than we thought.”
Assuming Hanse manages to get that grass grown, golf will be played at the Olympics in 2016 for the first time since the 1904 Games in St. Louis.
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