IOC visits Rio ahead of golf course announcement

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By TALES AZZONI, Associated Press

SAO PAULO (AP) — IOC officials began a three-day trip to Rio de Janeiro on Tuesday to discuss the city's preparations for the 2016 Olympics, and organizers will announce the designer of the golf course for the games.

The International Olympic Committee will meet with delegates of the Rio 2016 organizing committee and check on some Olympic venues. Local organizers will reveal Wednesday the designer of the first Olympic golf course in more than 100 years.

The eight finalists are: Gary Player Design, Greg Norman Golf Course Design, Hanse Golf Design, Hawtree Ltd., Nicklaus Design, Renaissance Golf, Robert Trent Jones II and Thomson-Perret Golf Course Architects.

Golf is returning to the games since being dropped after the 1904 St. Louis Olympics, and the opportunity to design the historic course has attracted interest in the golf world.

Jack Nicklaus is teaming with Annika Sorenstam on his project, while Norman has a partnership with Lorena Ochoa.

The golf design candidates were invited to Brazil for the announcement on Wednesday, but it wasn't clear if they would attend.

Six IOC members made the trip to Rio, including commission leader Nawal El Moutawakel and executive director Gilbert Felli. It's the IOC's first trip of the year and fifth overall to Rio since the city was picked to host the first Olympics in South America.

The golf selection committee is composed of Rio 2016 Olympic committee president Carlos Nuzman, International Golf Federation president Peter Dawson and other local representatives.

IOC members will be present Wednesday at the site where the course will be built in the Barra da Tijuca neighborhood, which will hold most of the Olympic venues.

Golf was reinstated to the games in 2009 and has a spot guaranteed in the 2020 Olympics.

A good impression in Rio will be critical in keeping the sport in the games. Another IOC vote on adding or deleting sports is scheduled for 2017.

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