Rio's golf course 'reasonably good'

MELBOURNE, Australia -- PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem says progress on construction of the troubled course for golf's return to the Olympics at Rio in 2016 is "reasonably good" and he would travel to Brazil early next year to check on its progress.

The course at Venue Reserva de Marapendi has been plagued by delays over land rights. It was originally scheduled to be completed by 2014 but American architect Gil Hanse, who is designing the course, admitted in July that it would not be tournament-ready until 2015.

"The progress is reasonably good, we were really concerned for a period of time," Finchem said Wednesday at a media conference on the eve the World Cup at Royal Melbourne. "Gil Hanse from all indications is doing a good job.

"I was told yesterday that the irrigation system for the golf course had boarded a ship in Los Angeles and was headed for the Panama Canal. So we'll have some water on the golf course."

Hanse was given the job of building the course for golf's return to the Olympics for the first time since 1904.

He said in July that the original plans were to have the course ready by 2014, giving organizers two years to fine-tune the course before the start of the Olympics. But Hanse said construction was now expected to be done by the first half of 2014 and the course would be ready to host a test event in the second half of 2015.

"If we were trying to stick to the original schedule -- no chance," Hanse said in July.

Construction on the course was delayed by a court case involving the title holder of the property and a developer who claimed legal rights to the land and wanted to build houses instead of the golf course.

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