Aside from being “global ambassadors” during golf’s bid to be included in the Olympics, Jack Nicklaus and Annika Sorenstam want to play an even larger role when golf makes its return at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro — they wish to design the course.
According to the AP, Jack and Annika have written a letter to the International Golf Federation asking to be the architects of the first Olympic golf course since over a century ago.
“I think this is a very functional partnership,” Nicklaus said. “I hope we can work a deal.”
There figures to be no shortage of architects. Henrique Lavie, commissioner of the Tour de las Americas, said last month that already some dozen course design companies have shown an interest.
“There’s not a public course in Brazil,” said Nicklaus, who agrees with Lavie that it is imperative for the public to have access to the golf course long after the Olympics leave Rio de Janeiro, “even if it’s a resort.”
Nicklaus said one potential site already has been identified. If selected, he said he and Sorenstam would collaborate on the strategy of each hole – Nicklaus from championship tees for the men, Sorenstam with women in mind.
Meanwhile, Ty Votaw, who is leading the IGF until it hires a full-time director, said there’s a chance they would use an existing course. But if one were to be built, the IGF would select the architect.
David Fay, who represents the USGA in the IGF, said they’re being careful not to “Americanize” the process — after all, it is an international sport.
It doesn’t appear a decision will be made brashly or quickly, but the clock is ticking — if they choose to build a new course, they better get moving. I’m no expert in golf architecture, but I gather it doesn’t happen overnight, let alone in a year. Yeah, there are just under six years until the 2016 Olympics, but I’m assuming there could be more red tape than usual in the construction of the course where the Olympics will be played.
Either way, golf is coming to the Olympics and I’m hoping I’ll be lucky enough to cover the event. Lofty goal, but I got some time.