Delays in Rio Course Construction Worrisome to IGF Head

Delays related to construction of the new golf course for the 2016 Rio Olympics have gotten the attention of Peter Dawson, president of the International Golf Federation.

The IGF had hoped the project would be far enough along at this point to consider dates for staging a test event next year. But that might not happen.

"We are not satisfied," Dawson told The Associated Press. "I was down there just recently, and while the design of the course looks really good, the progress with the construction is not where we want it to be.

"There have been so many revisions to the plan it's quite hard to say how far behind they are, but I think we are going to struggle to get a test event a year before the Games," added Dawson, who's also the CEO of the Royal & Ancient Golf Club. "I'm not writing that off completely, but we have to recognize that might be difficult."

The course, designed by Pennsylvania-based architect Gil Hanse, has been plagued by fits and starts, mainly because many ownership issues needed to be resolved to consolidate the site for the new layout. Golf will be an Olympic sport for the first time since 1904.

Despite his concerns, Dawson believes the course will be completed in advance of the Games and a trial-run tournament will be held. "I wouldn't say I'm disturbed at this point. I'd much rather we were further ahead. I still think it will be ready in time for the Olympics."

Dawson made his remarks during a roundtable discussion in London. He noted that efforts have been made to get course construction back on schedule. "There have been meetings held last week in Rio to revise the plan, increase manpower and facilities, which is designed to bring the project back on track. There are no green shoots on the course yet - unless they are weeds."

He noted that the golf course isn't the only new Olympic facility in Rio behind schedule. "Let me say that golf is not on its own here," he told reporters. "Just the other day, the International Olympic Committee issued a warning notice to their coordination commission, so this is not restricted to golf. Rio has got quite a few challenges ahead of them to get things done in time.

"We are new to the Olympic Games; maybe this is normal. However, I think it's particularly disappointing given how long ago we got in amongst this and got things started."