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Friday, July 27, 2012

The Olympics and Golf

As many of you will know, Golf makes a reappearance in the Olympic Games in 2016. The course, yet to be built, is being designed by a wonderful architect, Gil Hanse and I'm sure his design will be fitting for an event of this magnitude. Challenges are plentiful as the land ownership of the golf course property seems still to be in dispute and getting a golf course built in Brazil will be more of a challenge than in some countries, what with permitting, machinery, staff and more. That said, it should get done and with a 4 year time frame (right now) there is plenty of time. The format is yet to be confirmed and one can only hope the governing bodies try and do something other than a 72 hole, 4 day format - but I doubt it!

As I said it is a reappearance, because golf was played in the Olympics in 1900 and 1904 when the Olympics was a different beast all together. The 1900 Games was held in Paris and the 1904 Games was held in the US in St. Louis. Originally, the US Games was awarded to Chicago, but the organizers of the Louisiana Purchase Exposition in St. Louis would not accept another international event in the time frame. The exposition organization began to plan its own sports activities, informing the Chicago organizing committee that its own international sports events intended to eclipse the Games, unless they were moved to St. Louis. The founder of the modern Olympics, Pierre de Coubertin, caved and awarded the games to St. Louis. What an amazing story and proof positive that Olympic politics was alive and well, even a hundred years ago!

Glen Echo Country Club (still in existence today) was the venue and 77 golfers from 2 countries (USA and Canada) competed for the medals. The individual winner was George Lyon from Canada who defeated Chandler Egan in a matchplay final, following a 36 hole qualifier.  There was also a team competition that awarded gold, silver and bronze. The winners of all 3 of those medals was the USA! That's right, the only teams competing were American and the winners of the gold medal were 10 guys from The Western Golf Association. Great stuff!

Seeing how the 2016 golf format plays out will be fascinating and we will follow the design and construction with great interest. Once the London Olympics are over on August 12, the golf debate will no doubt begin in earnest. In the meanwhile, Enjoy London!

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