Clock Ticking on Olympic Golf Course

A required test of the soundness of the Olympic Golf Course in Rio de Janeiro will finally take place on March 8, nearly four months after it was originally scheduled.

The course has had several construction setbacks that saw it not actually open until November, when the test was originally supposed to take place.

Now instead of attracting a number of internationally-known, top-ranked players to test the course during the slow autumn months of the European and PGA Tours, the course will have nine Brazilian players – five men and four women – serve as guinea pigs.

The tournament is a one-day exhibition closed to the public on March 8, which is two days after the conclusion of the WGC-Cadillac Championship at Doral and a few days before the Valspar Championship in the US and an event in Thailand for the European Tour.

The series of setbacks is just the latest of questions arising about Brazil’s ability to put on  this major event.

In the middle of trying to host the two biggest athletic competitions in the world, Brazil is also impeaching its own president – Dilma Rousseff, struggling through an economic recession, attempting to complete a 16-km subway extension costing $247 million in time for the Olympics, and fight off a pair of mosquito-born viruses, including the Zika virus that has several Central and South American countries warning women not to get pregnant.

Beyond that, Olympic athletes will be competing in Guanabara Bay and Roridgo de Freitas Lagoon, two bodies of water that have heavy levels of pollution in them, to the point that athletes already in Rio training for the Games have gotten sick as a result.

Local interest in the Olympics is woefully short of expectations, according to sources, saying fewer than 50% of the 4.5 million tickets allocated for the host country have been sold.




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