Olympic golf course bids open

2011-10-18 11:06

Rio de Janeiro - Rio organisers are asking architects interested in designing the golf course for the 2016 Olympics to submit proposals this month, with a winner to be picked before Christmas.

The Rio Olympic committee said companies or individuals wanting to design the course will have until October 28 to apply, and the winning candidate will be announced December 23.

Applicants must have prior course design experience, and the project will have to meet several specifications put in place by organizers and the International Golf Federation.

The committee said Monday that the course will have to leave a legacy to Rio and become "an important tool for youth transformation through sport." It must also be capable of hosting tests events and competitions after the games.

Some of the sport's top names have expressed interest in designing the course, including Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Greg Norman, Gary Player, Robert Trent Jones Jr. and Nick Faldo.

The proposals will be examined by a jury made up of members of the IGF, the 2016 Olympic committee and the city of Rio.

The committee said the winner will be paid $300 000 for the design.

Any international company bidding for the design must have an office legally established in Rio.

Nicklaus and Annika Sorenstam, among those who helped persuade the International Olympic Committee to bring golf back to the Olympics, said in May 2010 they were interested in building the golf course. They offered to do it for free. Norman is working with retired Mexican star Lorena Ochoa.

"Because of how the Olympics are regarded and respected, I see this as a tremendous opportunity to introduce and grow the sport of golf in new and emerging markets," Nicklaus said on Monday.

"I would very much like to further that objective by collaborating with Annika on the design of the Olympic venue in Rio."

Golf made its debut at the second modern Olympics in Paris in 1900, but was dropped after the 1904 games in St. Louis. The sport was reinstated by an International Olympic Committee vote in 2009 that also guaranteed it a place in 2020.

The Rio golf course will be built at the Barra da Tijuca neighbourhood, which will hold most of the Olympic venues. The course is expected to be located about 5km from the athlete’s village.

The committee said that after the games, the course will be managed by a "private operator with the chief purpose of promoting golf in Brazil and in South America, representing one of the most important games' legacies for sport development in the country."