One-day event to test new Olympic golf course

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One-day event to test new Olympic golf course

RIO DE JANEIRO - The new golf course for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro will get its first test in March with a one-day exhibition event featuring three or four of the top male and female players.

“We’re in conversations with top players, both the men’s and women’s tours, but we really can’t say anything more beyond that,’’ International Golf Federation vice president Ty Votaw said on Wednesday. Votaw said the one-day test event was chosen because a four-day tournament with a full field presented risks for a young course that is still maturing.

“We just want to make sure that the golf course can come through the grow-in season,’’ Votaw said. “To make sure that whatever competition that’s held, it doesn’t do anything to set back the overall conditions and grow-in of the course.’’

Votaw said the event would probably take place early in the week so it would not conflict with tournaments that normally run Thursday through Sunday.

The Olympics open Aug. 5, 2016.

Votaw described the course as “all grown in and green’’ but said the next six months were critical.

“I walked the golf course two weeks ago, all 18 holes, and I was very pleased how it looked,’’ Votaw said. “While positive, that’s a very small part of the overall maintenance plan and grow-in and conditioning that needs to take place between now and the Games. We want to make sure that the appropriate resources, equipment and manpower are applied to this living, breathing venue.’’

Golf is returning to the Olympics for the first time in 112 years and is expected to draw lots of attention despite a scant following in Brazil.

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