Category: Olympics

September 06, 2013

PGA to move 2016 Championship due to Olympics

Posted at 11:18 AM by Coleman McDowell

53389131(Phil Mickelson won the 2005 PGA Championship at Baltusrol Golf Club, site of the 2016 PGA. Photo: Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

If it wasn't already close enough to the British Open, the PGA Championship is moving back into July in 2016. 

Due to golf's return to the 2016 Olympics, the PGA of America will have to vacate its traditional spot in mid-August and move its championship to the final week of July, according to

“I’m 99 percent certain that’s when it will be,” said chief executive officer of the PGA of America Pete Bevacqua.

The 2016 PGA Championship will be hosted at Baltusrol Golf Club in Springfield, N.J, No. 51 on Golf Magazine's Top 100 World Rankings.

“It’s a better time to host a major championship,” he said of the late July date. “More people are around and in the swing of things. Less people are on their summer vacations. We think it’s actually going to work out to our advantage.”

The 2016 Olympics will be held August 5-21 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

May 02, 2013

McIlroy: Olympic rules give me choice between Britain and Ireland

Posted at 2:32 PM by Josh Sens

Rory_300.jpgHe still hasn’t decided, but he remains pro-choice.

We’re talking, of course, about Rory McIlroy, and the awkward situation that awaits him when golf returns to the Olympics at the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro.

The prospect of playing for Olympic gold has raised a sticky question for the Northern Irishman: will he represent Great Britain or Ireland in the Games?

No matter which colors he flies, he’s bound to cause a stir.

In an effort to ease the pressure bearing down on the young star, Royal & Ancient chief executive Peter Dawson said last week that he was looking into Olympic regulations that would spare McIroy from making the tough choice.

According to Dawson, the decision might not be McIroy’s after all.

"Because of Rory's history of playing for Ireland at amateur level and at World Cup level there may be a regulation within the Olympic rules which would determine who would he would have to play for," Dawson said. "We are still looking at the matter but under that regulation he could play under Irish colors.”

Though he didn’t specify the regulation, it appeared that Dawson was referring to the International Olympic Committee’s Rule 41, which lays out guidelines for national representation.

According to Paragraph 1 of the rule, a competitor who is a national of two or more countries may choose to represent any one of them. “However,” the rule states, “after having represented one country in the Olympic Games, in continental or regional games or in world or regional championships recognised by the relevant IF, he may not represent another country unless he meets the conditions set forth in paragraph 2.” (More on Paragraph 2 in a minute,)

Based on that language alone, you’d think that Dawson might be right: because McIroy has played for Ireland in the past, he has to play for Ireland in the future.

But not so fast.

Speaking Wednesday from North Carolina, where’s he’s preparing for the Wells Fargo Championship, McIroy said he believes that the choice is still his.

“I mean, I saw I think it's Rule 41 in the IOC states that I still have a choice. It's not like they can take it away from me.”

Which brings us back to Paragraph 2 of Rule 41, which frees a competitor to choose his team provided that at least three years have passed since he last represented a particular nation.

McIlroy last represented a country when he played for Ireland in the 2011 World Cup.

“If you play for a country and then you either change nationality or whatever or if you don't play for that certain country for three years, you still have a choice,” McIlroy said. “I haven't played for anyone, I guess, since 2011, end of 2011 World Cup. Obviously, going into the Olympics that will be five years, so I'll still have a choice.”

It’s a heavy burden, but, for now anyway, McIroy seems willing to bear it.

Then again, as decision time approaches and the pressure mounts upon him, he might change his mind.

In which case we’ll get to see a new Olympic sport: parsing the language of the IOC’s rules.

Photo: Getty Images

March 19, 2013

Construction begins on Olympic course in Rio de Janeiro

Posted at 12:24 PM by Coleman McDowell


The initial work for the site of Olympic golf in 2016 began today, according to Golfweek.

Plans for the course in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil have been delayed, but the $12.5 million course is currently scheduled to be completed for a professional tournament in 2015 before hosting the men and women's Summer Games events in 2016.

With environmental permissions in hand to start the golf course for the 2016 Olympic Games, designer Gil Hanse and a crew of six workers are onsite clearing non-native vegetation by hand. With good weather, a disciplined work crew and no more delays from local officials, the course could be ready within 18 months. The first step is to remove exotic vegetation, then clear center lines for the routing and from there, move on to additional clearing to allow for dirt moving, shaping, grassing, irrigation and subsequent grow-in.

The entire site encompasses 240 acres with almost half of the alloted space being devoted to the course and its amenities. The course is located approximately three miles from the Athlete's Village.

Photo: An aerial view of the neighborhood where the 2016 Olympic golf course is scheduled to be build (Credit: Associated Press)

January 11, 2013

Truth & Rumors: Padraig Harrington has 'massive sympathy' for Rory McIlroy over Olympic dilemma

Posted at 1:03 PM by Samantha Glover

Hailing from Northern Ireland, Rory McIlroy has a unique choice heading into the 2016 Olympics; he can either compete under the flag of Ireland or Great Britain in Rio, a decision unfortunately fraught with controversy in a country still recovering from decades of sectarian conflict.

Irishman Padraig Harrington spoke about Rory McIlroy's Olympic dilemma during a press conference for this week's Volvo Golf Champions event.

“I have massive sympathy as an Irishman and massive sympathy more so as a sportsman,” said the three-times major winner of the situation. “No sportsman should have to make that decision. That’s it, straightforward – nobody at 23 years of age should be asked to make that decision.

After avoiding questions about who he will play for in 2016, World No. 1 McIlroy spoke out in a recent BBC documentary, stating that rather than disappoint fans from either Great Britain or Ireland, he is considering skipping the games altogether.

Harrington went on to say that McIlroy's absence from the game would be a detriment to golf's chances of becoming a permanent event, according to Martin Dempster's report for the Scotsman.

“It’s very unfortunate and I think it is unfortunate in the sense that it means a great deal for golf for him [McIlroy] to play. It’s a very big deal because golf is only on a trial period in the Olympics.

“We have two runs at it and, as golfers, we do have to perform and put our best foot forward, so it would be nice if the world number one is there and he’s supporting the event. It’s an extraordinarily difficult decision. We need our best players to play in the Olympics to show that golf is serious in the Olympics.”

December 06, 2012

Truth & Rumors: IOC warns Rio organizers that 'time is ticking'

Posted at 4:35 PM by Samantha Glover

The International Olympic Committee has expressed concern that preparations for the 2016 games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil are falling behind schedule.

"Our message remains: There is time, but time is ticking, and they need to carry on attacking this one with all vigour," IOC spokesman Mark Adams said.

The land designated for the Olympic golf course remains at the center of a legal battle, and the venues of the hockey and rugby competitions have not been finalized, according to a Reuters report. Plus, Rio, which is the first South American city selected to host the games, has also failed to finalize the budget for the event.

Carlos Nuzman, head of the organizing committee, maintains that there is no cause for concern.

"We are in a very good, comfortable situation," he said. "It's important we work as a team - the IOC, the organizing committee and the government. I think we are in a very good way."

RELATED: Architect Hanse discusses his Rio Olympic project

November 08, 2012

Truth & Rumors: British Olympic official calls on R&A to admit women members

Posted at 12:55 PM by Samantha Glover

According to a report by the BBC, Lord Moynihan, outgoing chairman of the British Olympic Association, wants to see the R&A admit women members.

"It is remarkable that Augusta has changed, but the Royal and Ancient is still there having not entitled and allowed complete equality of opportunity for women in this country."

Augusta National made history in August when it announced that the famous men's only club admitted it's first two women members; Condoleezza Rice and Darla Moore. Moynihan thinks the all-male R&A should follow suit.

"It should be an embedded characteristic of 21st century sport, especially when you see the contribution the athletes make."

"Let's get real and let's get on with the job of providing equality of opportunity across sports, sports administration as well as sporting opportunity."


October 16, 2012

Video: Gil Hanse describes Rio Olympic project

Posted at 12:46 PM by Mark Dee

How did a small shop like Gil Hanse Golf Design get the nod to build the Rio Olympic golf course over titans like Norman, Nicklaus and Player? Well, for Hanse, it meant going "all in," according to a video profile of the architect put together by Bloomberg.

Part of that, aside from coming up with a plan, meant moving his wife and 15-year-old daughter from Philadelphia to Rio for construction. And, of course, dealing with the pressure of putting South American golf on the map. Oh, and a crash course in Portuguese.

The video's below. What do you think of the track? Let us know in the comments.

October 09, 2012

Truth & Rumors: Rory McIlroy offered chance to carry Irish flag in Rio...if he commits

Posted at 10:26 AM by Mark Dee

Let the Olympic bidding war for Rory McIlroy begin.

Ireland decided to be the first to raise their paddle in the great McIlroy sweepstakes, offering him the alpha gig as the country's flag bearer in the opening ceremony -- if he pledges allegiance to the Irish tricolor.

Pat Hickey, president of the Olympic Council of Ireland, made the offer in a Tuesday article published by The Telegraph.

“I will say to Rory that if he declares for Ireland, then he will automatically put himself in pole position to carry the Irish tricolour into the Olympic stadium in Rio,” said Hickey, who is also a board member on the International Olympic Committee.

Of course, he took the time to squeeze in a sales pitch, too:

“You know it was over two years ago when Rory made some rash comments about representing Team GB. I think that he was perhaps a little immature back then and although he reiterated them again recently, in his present state of mind right now, I feel that he might be thinking differently….”

"…Can you just imagine what something like this would do for Rory McIlroy,” Hickey added. “It would suddenly catapult him into the realms of being one of the most instantly recognisable sporting faces on the planet. Because make no mistake about it, that’s what carrying the flag does for people.”

McIlroy has come on record saying he "feels more British than Irish," which, considering the Northern Irishman holds a British passport, isn't entirely surprising. But Decision 2016 has struck a nerve across the pond. Expect invitations -- and enticements -- to flow Rory's way until his final selection is made…sometime in the next four years.

EAMON LYNCH: Dear God, leave Rory along

October 05, 2012

Truth & Rumors: Olympic golf clubhouse in Rio to have glass roof

Posted at 9:52 AM by Mark Dee

First looks at the 2016 Olympic course clubhouse are coming out of Rio on Friday. It will have a glass roof. So Rory McIlroy has no place to hide.

Actually, according to GolfAustralia, the clubhouse's glass roof to combine "an atmosphere of conviviality with nature." Here's the picture:


That's what I call convivial. The design was submitted by the design team of Pedro Rivera and Pedro Evora, who beat out 57 other entries in a nationwide competition.

The pair will split whopping grand prize of R$25,000 Brazilian Real, or about $12,000. If that's not the smallest commission of their careers, it certainly will be from this point forward.

August 14, 2012

Truth & Rumors: PGA Championship earns lowest TV ratings since '08

Posted at 1:59 PM by Mark Dee

Rory McIlroy elevated his game Sunday at the PGA Championship, but he couldn't do the same for CBS's TV ratings.

Running opposite the last day of the Olympics, Sunday's golf marathon drew a 3.9 overnight rating for Jim Nantz & Co., according to Sports Media Watch. That's down nine percent from last year, and 22 percent from 2010. In fact, this year's final round drew the lowest ratings since the PGA last ran against the Olympics in 2008 (when it drew a 3.0). According to the article, that year marked the tournament's lowest audience share since "at least" 1995. 

In addition to the Olympics, Tiger Woods's final-round fade didn't seem to help matters. The 2009 event, where Woods lost a Sunday duel to Y.E. Yang, drew a massive 7.5 rating -- nearly twice this year's crowd.

News isn't all bad for the PGA: It still drew more viewers than the final round of this year's British Open (which got 3.3). Granted, that broadcast takes place early Sunday morning in the U.S., so it doesn't benefit from the PGA's meaty Sunday afternoon time slot.

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