Setbacks, protests, fits, and starts ended up having no perceivable effect on the end result of Gil Hanse’s work on the new Olympic Golf Course in Rio. Even after an opening round 73, Bubba Watson sung the praises of the course. “The course is amazing. Not knowing what to expect, brand new golf course, has not been open that long. To see it in this condition, I mean, this is the best-conditioned course we’ve played all year.” If even the typically cantankerous Watson approves of the course, it is the real hero of Olympics golf.
The course produced everything that fans want to see. A surprise leader, Australia’s Marcus Fraser, emerged after an eight-under-par 63. Justin Rose made the first hole-in-one in Olympics history, and the course still showed enough bite to separate the best from the rest. This all calms the fears of those, including Hanse, who initially thought the open, rolling course may play too easy for the stars in the Olympics field.
For the golf media who ran with the story that the course was on the brink of failure these past two years? Well, it’s Gil Hanse laughing breathing a sigh of relief now.
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