R&A chief executive Peter Dawson has confirmed that a site has been selected for the new course that will host the Olympic golf events in Rio de Janiero in 2016.
Speaking at the Open Championship at Royal St Georges, Dawson confirmed media reports that a site at Riserva Uno, in the Barra da Tijuca district of Rio, which will play host to most Olympic events, had been picked as the location for the new course.
“Commercial negotiations are currently under way for the City of Rio to acquire that site for golf,” he told a press conference. “A course will be designed – by an architect yet to be determined – and laid out on that site for the Olympic event.”
Most of the world’s largest design firms have been chasing the Olympic commission. Dawson made it clear that a decision would be taken soon on the architect. “In order to be in time, we need to get the architect appointed and his designs approved, and break ground in 2012,” he said.
The Riserva Uno site is part of a large-scale residential development. A golf course was planned as part of this development, and was routed by architect Martin Hawtree, some five or six years ago, but not built. “The golf course wasn’t laid out with championship golf in mind particularly, but clearly Martin thought it was a suitable site for a course, and I’m much heartened by that,” said Dawson, who said the site was largely sandy, but did contain some mangrove swamps.