Olympics 2016: R&A Chief Slams Pace of Olympic Course Construction

March 28, 2014

Olympic Golf Course in Rio An aerial view of the site of the Olympic golf course in Rio on the 1,000th day before the 2016 Games. (Getty Images)

Golf’s return to the Olympics in 2016 after over a century-long absence is starting to look more troublesome than triumphant.
R&A chief and International Golf Federation president Peter Dawson joined the chorus of voices concerned about the pace of development at the site of the Olympic golf course in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

“We are not satisfied,” Dawson told Golfweek’s Alistair Tait. “I was down there just recently, and while the design of the course looks really good, the progress with the construction is not where we want it to be. There have been so many revisions to the plan it’s quite hard to say how far behind they are, but I think we are going to struggle to get a test event a year before the Games. I’m not writing that off completely, but we have to recognize that might be difficult.”

The Gil Hanse-led project has been fraught with obstacles from its inception — most notably, a local land dispute that delayed construction for months — and has since struggled to get back on track.
“There are no green shoots on the course yet — unless they are weeds,” said Dawson.
Golf is by no means the only area in which the Games are lagging behind, and Dawson said that he takes a degree of comfort in the warning notice issued by the International Olympic Committee to its organizers saying that “every second counts” and a “constant, concerted and integrated effort is required for the successful delivery of the Games and its legacy.”
“We are new to the Olympic Games. Maybe this is normal,” he said. “However, I think it’s particularly disappointing given how long ago we got in amongst this and got things started.”
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