Rio de Janeiro course will be ready
BROOKLINE, Mass. -- Construction on the golf course to be used by the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro is on pace for a test event about a year before the Summer Games, architect Gil Hanse said on Thursday.
Hanse said the original plans were to have the course ready by 2014, giving organizers a two-year cushion before the start of the Olympics. Legal fights over the property delayed the start of work, but Hanse said construction is expected to be done by the first half of 2014 and the course will be tournament-ready in the second half of `15.
"If we were trying to stick to the original schedule -- no chance," said Hanse, who moved to Brazil for six months to work on the project but returned home last month. He will return for about two weeks out of each month to supervise the work, and to follow the Brazilian soccer team -- Fluminense -- he adopted while he was there, he said.
Hanse attended media day for next month's U.S. Amateur at The Country Club, which he helped renovate in preparation for the tournament. Tee boxes have been added, fairways tweaked and trees cleared for the event, which will be the 16th USGA championship at the course that was home to Francis Ouimet's ground-breaking U.S. Open victory in 1913.
Mike Trostel, the curator of the USGA museum, was also in Brookline on Thursday, using white gloves to handle the wood-shafted mashie niblick and putter Ouimet used when he beat Britain's best a century ago. The victory by the former caddie helped establish golf in the United States.
The Amateur, which runs from Aug. 12-18, starts with 312 golfers playing two rounds of stroke play to winnow the field to 64, followed by six rounds of match play to determine the winner of the Havemeyer Trophy.
"Not only having that, but what you get to do afterward is the best thing," said defending champion Steven Fox, who earned entries to the Masters, U.S. Open and British Open with his victory. "It gets your foot in the door."