2016 Olympic Games Golf Tournament in Rio

Golf will once again take its place in the Olympics in Rio 2016 after several years of lobbying to have the sport put back on the Olympic roster, but with IOC Olympic Vice President John Coates stating last April that preparations for the Rio Olympics were the ‘worst’ he had ever seen, how are things looking now?

Rio_2016_Logo

Well there’s some good news in that the development of the course is now well under way. Foundations for the key buildings, including the club house were laid towards the end of 2014 and a lot of the course structure is now in place, planted and seeded with many parts already taking on the look of a well-established golf course.

The latest word out of Rio is that the course will be ready to be opened for an Olympic Warm Up tournament towards the end of 2015, with the Olympics set to follow less than 12 months later.

However it would be wrong to state that everybody in Rio is happy at the development.

Last December, a group of protesters formed the protest group Occupy Golf and set up camp in the middle of a highway which ran beside the brand new Olympic course. They argue that the setting up of the course is unnecessary as Rio already has two other golf courses and that the course, built on what was a municipal ecological park, is not environmentally friendly and has been damaging to wildlife.

Rio 2016 Olympics Golf Course Design

They also argue that the mayor’s office and the golf course developers sole motive is profit, with plans for a host of exclusive apartments to be built on the fringes of the course, a move which the group say would net the developers around $1 billion in profit.

Early in January the groups camp was ransacked by police and officials and one demonstrator accused one female police officer of assaulting him with a weapon while he was handcuffed in the car, breaking his tooth in the process.

Furthermore, locals are annoyed that while they suffer drought conditions and often have their water supply interrupted for an indeterminate amount of time; every day the golf course is watered with around 5 million litres of water to ensure that it continues to mature and develop.

The mayor’s office claims that this water comes directly from underground aquifers, though locals and demonstrators dispute this.

For the time being however, the development of the course continues despite the protests and it seems unlikely that any of the groups would hold enough sway to cause a drastic turn of events prior to the Olympics.

The other big news regarding the Olympic Golf tournament is that Rory McIlroy, after many months of soul-searching and even threatening to not play in the tournament, has decided that he will represent Ireland, rather than Great Britain at the tournament.

Furthermore, this week it was announced that Paul McGinley will be the leader of the Irish Olympic golf team, reuniting two key Ryder Cup figures from Gleneagles 2014.

Certainly, in terms of professional golf, the chance to play in the Olympics has turned many players heads and already, many are checking their schedule over 2015 and particularly 2016, so that they will be ready and raring to go in what promises to be an intriguing event.

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Nicolas May 16, 2016

The Rio Olympics seems to be controversial at every step of proceedings, doesn’t it! Whether it is funding, collapsing structures or protests, it certainly hasn’t been plain sailing.

Not sure how interesting it is for the golfers though. I saw a poll the other day that showed the majority of tour pros valued the players (so not even a major) over Olympic gold.

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