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SBD Global/July 16, 2014/Olympics

International Golf Federation Nervous About Readiness Of Rio 2016 Course

The prospect of golf’s return to the Olympic Games being overshadowed -- or ruined -- by an unprepared venue "refuses to disappear," according to Ewan Murray of the London GUARDIAN. The Int'l Golf Federation "fired a warning at those in charge of the 2016 Games in Rio." Albeit well on the way to construction, "the purpose-built golf course has been beset by delays and political wrangling." The IGF’s board said that "the golf course will be fit and ready, but only if no further problems are encountered." IGF President Peter Dawson admitted to a "tight" schedule on the course’s construction. Dawson also "refused to rule out golf being pulled from the Games." Dawson: “I don’t think we’re in any more danger of that than any other sport." Dawson’s words "were endorsed by another board member, the PGA Tour’s Ty Votaw." Votaw said, "While we’re encouraged by the recent progress, there is still plenty of work to do and there’s still plenty of work that needs to be done on the golf course as well as with the supporting facilities. And it’s critically important that we remain on track with the schedule for us to meet the October-November time frame that I mentioned" (GUARDIAN, 7/14). GOLF WEEK's Alistair Tait wrote with the Games just two years away, the golf course near Rio de Janeiro "still doesn't have any grass on it." Sodding "has only just begun, although the hope is to have all the grassing complete by October or November." Dawson said, "There’s no complacency here. It’s tight" (GOLF WEEK, 7/14). In London, James Corrigan wrote that Votaw tried to "play down" concerns when it was suggested that aerial photos showed "a much-underveloped course." Votaw: "We have people on the ground, not in the air, every day, and we know what the progress is" (London TELEGRAPH, 7/15).

QUALIFYING SYSTEM SET: IGF officials confirmed the qualification system that will be used for golf in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. In both the women’s and men’s events a field of 60 players will compete in a 72-hole stroke play format competition for the Gold, Silver and Bronze medals. The 60 positions available in each event will be allocated through an Olympic Golf Ranking list published on the IGF website, based on the player’s respective official world golf ranking as follows: players within the top-15 on the respective women’s and men’s Official World Golf Ranking as of July 11, 2016 will be eligible, except that there will be no more than four players from any one country eligible within the top-15; the balance of the field will be selected in order from 16th place onward on the respective women’s and men’s OWGR as of as of July 11 2016, up to a maximum of two players per country for those countries not already having more than two players within the top-15 (European Tour). REUTERS' Tony Jimenez reported officials "will also make space for at least one male and one female player from Brazil and are also committed to having at least one golfer from Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe and Oceania." Dawson: "The current count, determined by today's rankings, I think is about 35 countries (would be represented) for the men and about 33 for the women. We've got a good spread of countries in there and there's a good chance for every nation to have a go" (REUTERS, 7/15).
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