Olympic course in Rio set to break ground soon, host test event in 2015

Peter Dawson
Getty Images
Royal and Ancient CEO Peter Dawson says that plans for the golf course that'll host the 2016 Olympics tournament are on schedule.
Doug Ferguson
Associated Press

Series: Industry News

Published: Wednesday, August 29, 2012 | 12:41 p.m.

FARMINGDALE, N.Y. -- Royal & Ancient Chief Executive Peter Dawson said officials expect to break ground on the Olympic course in Rio de Janeiro this fall, keeping it on schedule for the 2016 and for what he called a ''test event'' prior to the Olympics.

Still to be determined is what that test event might be.

There were early indications it might be a World Golf Championship event, though that chatter has been quiet in recent years. Dawson said the International Golf Federation is not responsible for the event, though he said it could be either a major amateur tournament.

Even so, he said a professional event would be the most likely to ''attract the best players and the best crowds.''

That would allow a test of more than the golf course, such as gallery movement and all the infrastructure issues that accompany big tournaments.

Ty Votaw, the PGA Tour's executive vice president of international affairs who serves with Dawson on the IGF, said it could be anything from a PGA Tour event, a WGC, a PGA Tour Latinoamerica tournament or an exhibition.

''It's all going to be dictated by ... how ready the golf course is going to be for a test event, and how ready it will between the test event and the Olympics,'' Votaw said.

He said officials would need enough time to make changes if they become obvious after the test event.

One possibility for the test event that was floated two weeks ago -- a World Cup, which now is held every other year at Mission Hills in China.