Speaking to the golf media assembled at St Andrews for The Open Championship, Peter Dawson, President of the International Golf Federation, and Ty Votaw, Vice-President, are confident that IGF is ‘in great shape’ to stage a first-class golf event in Rio in the Olympic Games in August 2016.
Ty Votaw said, “We’re happy to the report that the golf course itself is virtually complete, and we are now in full grow-in mode, and 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, most of which wouldn’t have happened without the great job that the superintendent, Neil Cleverly, and his team have done.
“The PGA Tour’s agronomy team has also been down in Rio for several months assisting Neil and his team, and we’ve also enjoyed the support of Rio 2016, the Rio mayor’s office, who has taken a very active role in all matters relating to the Olympics as well as other stakeholders to get to where we are, and we are approaching the second grow-in season, which is extremely important, to get the course in championship game levels ready for the competition, and as we take steps now to prepare the golf course and shape it further, we have to make sure that Neil and his team have the resources necessary to bring the Games to a competition and championship level, and we’re confident that that can happen.
“Beyond the golf course itself, there’s still a considerable amount of work to do outside of the competition area, some infrastructure, some roads, the construction of the clubhouse for the golf course is ongoing, and we are anticipating – the exterior is being completed by November of this year, which is on schedule.”
Mr Votaw continued, “Gil Hanse and Amy Alcott and their team have done an exceptional job of creating a layout that’s both strategic and fair and aesthetically beautiful, and we think it’s going to be one that the players truly appreciate. It’s everything that we think an Olympic venue should be and one that will serve as a lasting legacy for golf in Brazil going forward.”
Following a recent visit by representatives from the PGA Tour and the IGF, a report (in Olympic terms ‘an homologation report’) has concluded that ‘looking at where things stood in the preparation of the golf course as well as the worldwide schedule of golf … the recommendation has been made to the Rio 2016 that … it would be better to have the test event take place after having had the benefit of a second grow-in season’.
Taking into consideration the availability of players on a November-December time frame, the report recommends that IGF moves the test event to the first quarter of 2016.
“With that,” Ty Votaw concluded, “We think we have a much better chance of having a test event when the golf course is as close to a Games-ready condition as possible. We also think that the type of an event at that time, given everybody’s schedules is that it would be more of an exhibition, limited to a one-day competition, if you will, and we’re in the process of working with world-class players on both the men’s and the 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.”
International Golf Federation www.igfgolf.org