By Steve Elling
DORAL, Fla. -- The sports of golf is filled with various niches, including equipment, the professional, college and amateur ranks, not to mention the design business.
In the sport's admittedly insular world, the selection of the designer for the 2016 Olympics course in Rio de Janiero has been a talking point for months.
After a bidding process and a few delays, rising architect Gil Hanse was selected from a group of eight finalists Wednesday and was introduced at Doral Golf Resort & Spa, where he has been retained by new owner Donald Trump to re-do the Blue Monster.
An early rendering of Hanse's course is above. There's a lagoon on the sand-soiled property, which he described as similar in terrain and vegetation to Australia's famous Sandbelt region, where Royal Melbourne is located.
While the course will surely morph along the way, but Hanse said he hopes to finish the course with a series of what he called "half-par holes."
"A short par-4s, short par-3, reachable par-5," Hanse said. "Half‑par holes are where things can happen. You get really good [momentum] swings. Some people are afraid to finish golf courses that way because they don't want guys walking off going birdie, birdie, eagle.
"I think it would be awesome if they did that. I think we want to try to promote aggressive play at the end of the tournament.
"This is the first time somebody is going to have a gold medal around their neck since 1904. There's a lot at stake and if we can have somebody really do something special down the stretch, that would be great."
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