Hanse Golf Design was chosen to build a course for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, beating out seven other finalists, including a team of Jack Nicklaus and Annika Sorenstam.
Gil Hanse, 48, has teamed up with LPGA and Golf Hall of Fame member Amy Alcott for the project, which will serve as the site for both the men’s and women’s Olympic golf competitions four years from now.
The duo was chosen over high-profile designers, such as Nicklaus and Sorenstam, two Hall of Fame golfers with 28 major titles combined.
“It’s very humbling and we’re incredibly honored,” Hanse said in a press conference in Miami, site of this week’s U.S. PGA Tour event. “To be included along with arguably the greatest player in the history of the game and a cast of others, we were always happy to just sort of be along for the ride.”
Australia’s Greg Norman and Mexico’s Lorena Ochoa, a pair of golfers who were both previously ranked as the No. 1 players in the world, also submitted bids, as did three-time Masters Tournament winner Gary Player of South Africa; British designer Martin Hawtree; American designers Tom Doak, and Robert Trent Jones II, who partnered with retired Brazilian pro Mario Gonzalez, and the team of Peter Thomson, a five-time British Open champion, and Ross Perrett of Australia.
Return to Games
Golf will return to the Games in 2016 for the first time since 1904 in St. Louis. The sport’s Olympic return was boosted by the support of professional golfers, including 14-time major winner Tiger Woods, during the buildup to its selection.
The team of Hanse and Alcott, based in Malvern, Pennsylvania, will be paid $300,000 for the design, Olympic officials said when announcing its finalists. The amount is less than the typical design fee charged by top golf course architects.
The course will be built in the Reserva da Marapendi in the Barra da Tijuca district of Rio, a part of the city where the largest number of Olympic venues will be located, organizers said. Construction will begin in October, Hanse said.
During the Games, the golf competition will be 72-hole men’s and women’s competitions played over four days, with medals being awarded to the three lowest scorers. It’s the same format used for most professional tournaments around the world.
In 1904, only the U.S. and Canada competed in the Olympics golf competition, with Canada’s George Lyon defeating H. Chandler Egan of the U.S. for the gold medal.