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Gary Player Thrilled to be a Finalist for Rio 2016 Olympic Games Golf Course

The selection of who will design the golf course for the 2016 Olympic Games tightened with the field cut to eight firms and the final choice expected in early 2012.  Gary Player shares a few thoughts on the importance of the project and why the opportunity is so special. 

The Opportunity:

“This is a once in a lifetime opportunity.  Golf has been absent from the Olympic games since 1904 and being given the chance to be a part of its return is fantastic.  I am truly honored to have been selected as a finalist.”

“One of the reasons I am so excited about the project is that it will help golf continue to grow globally.  If you look at the game today it has become a truly international sport – you see top players from all over the world vying for, and winning Majors.  The Olympics will expose millions of people in non-traditional golf markets to the game and that is great for the sport.” 

Brazil:

“A wonderful country with some of the nicest people I have ever met.  I won the Brazilian Open in 1972 and 1974 and the fans were terrific.  Even though I was a foreigner winning their National Championship they treated me as if I were a Brazilian.”

“Having the chance to work in emerging golf markets like Brazil has always been one of the most rewarding parts of my career as a golfer and a golf course designer.  Golf has given me a life that I could have only dreamed about and I feel that I have a responsibility to give something back to the game.  That is one of the reasons I played all over the world, many times in tournaments that no one outside of the host country had ever heard of.  The game is so special to me I want to share it with as many people as possible.  This facility can, and should be, a catalyst for golf in Brazil long after the Olympic competition is complete.”

The Site:

“Earlier this year our design team and I visited the Reserva Marapendi site for the course.  We wanted to get a real sense of how a course could be laid out and what the challenges would be if we were awarded the design contract.  It is truly a blank canvas and reminds me of some of the sites on which we have worked in South Africa especially The Links at Fancourt, which hosted the 2003 Presidents Cup.  The designer will need to be creative to deliver something special and sustainable long-term.”

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