Posted on: March 7, 2012 1:32 pm
Edited on: March 7, 2012 5:43 pm

Hanse wins Olympics nod, wants golden ending

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."

Construction is set to begin this fall with a completion date in mid-2015.

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Category: Golf
Posted on: August 13, 2011 10:19 am
Edited on: August 13, 2011 10:20 am

Fazio joins Faldo bid to build Olympics venue

JOHNS CREEK, Ga. -- You ready for Nick Faldo, lord of the rings?

The six-time major winner on Friday took another step toward bringing an ambitious plan to fruition by convincing course architect Tom Fazio to join his attempt to build the 2016 Olympics course in Rio de Janiero, and to use the game's biggest names in the design.

Faldo told CBSSports.com that he spoke with Fazio, perhaps the most noted designer in the game these days, and gave him an outline of his sweeping plan -- to mirror the Olympic ideal by using multiple designers from several countries to build an audacious design to serve the 2016 stage. Fazio agreed to come aboard.

"This is such a great opportunity," Faldo said. "This could be the ultimate one-off of one-offs. This is the Olympics and it should really be something special, something different."
Faldo said that Fazio agreed to serve as the lead architect, while Faldo will concentrate on pulling together the names of the principle stars involved.

"I'm the heavy recruiter of designers and players," he said.

He's already been making calls. Faldo said he has spoken with the players or design firms of Arnold Palmer, Gary Player, Ernie Els, Nancy Lopez and Greg Norman. Fazio wants no part of the cobbling together, or determining the distribution of the workload, to the potential list of alpha males.

"He said, 'You're in charge of egos,'" Faldo laughed.

Faldo sent a letter to the International Golf Federation a couple of weeks ago, pitching the proposal of using top designers and players from a broad list of countries as a means of doing an inclusive property that would generate global interest. Almost overnight, rumors began to circulate t hat he was attempting to use 18 different designers, with each drawing up one hole.

Not the case. Never was.

"It's always frustrating when people make fast assumptions," he said.

Speaking of speed, Faldo said the consortium needs to draft a formal design proposal in a hurry. The IGF has indicated it plans to select a designer by year's end. The hope is to ideally have a course built by 2015 so that a professional tour event can be staged as a dry run in advance of the Games.

From a course-development standpoint, since various forms of land-use permitting still needs to be done on the selected parcel in Rio, that's not a lot of time.

"ASAP," Faldo said of the rush to submit a formal plan.

Faldo gets nearly giddy when he talks of the project.

"Think about it," he said. "With all of these players and designers from various parts of the world, that's what the Olympics are all about."

The idea just sort of popped into his head out of nowhere.

"It was one of those 3-o'clock-in-the-morning things," he laughed.

Joe Steranka, the chief official with the PGA of America and a member of the IGF board, said he was intrigued by the plan.

"There's not a lot of time," he said.

Category: Golf
Tags: faldo, fazio, olympics, rio
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com