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Hanse-Rio Design Announcement Clippings

Full disclosure, oh screw it! You already know. Boy was this was an extra-fun clippings roundup to put together...

Here is's extensive, detail-rich, unbylined story on the news which also includes a video (embedded below).

And Gil's transcipt from Doral.

AP's story, authored by Tales Azzoni on the ground in Sao Paulo.

The Rio 2016 committee said Hanse Golf Design was "the candidate that most aptly met the selection criteria" issued by organizers, proposing a strong legacy component that included a golf academy to help the sport's development in Brazil.

"Hanse Golf Course Design tackled the challenge of designing a course for use by both elite and amateur athletes, one of the main legacy objectives," the committee said in a statement. "It addressed the environmental sustainability directives for the games and efficiently conformed to the building restrictions on the land."

I really hope this blog post lede doesn't also become Karen Crouse's lede for the print edition of the New York Times:

In what amounts to the first golfing upset of the 2016 Summer Olympics, Jack Nicklaus, Annika Sorenstam, Greg Norman, Lorena Ochoa and Gary Player lost out to Amy Alcott in the competition to design the course for the Rio de Janeiro Games.

I could elaborate on that, but this is a great day for Gil, nature-inspired golf architecture and all of the people who are working so hard to make golf in the Olympics a hit. Move along people, move along.

Ryan Ballengee features Jack Nicklaus's diplomatic reaction to the news and a startling remark from RTJ II.

“I would like to offer my sincere congratulations to Gil and his design team,” said Jack Nicklaus in a statement.

“Obviously, Gil’s commitment and desire to do the best possible job, along with his all-in commitment to the committee in Brazil, was an important determining factor to the group. I am sure he will do a fine golf course. The Olympics, and the legacy that golf course will have the opportunity to create, will be in good hands,” he said.

Fellow architect Robert Trent Jones II felt mixed emotions, saying in a telephone interview, "Like any sportsman who gets to compete at the Olympic level, it was clearly worth the effort. My feelings are mixed between the personal disappointment of not being selected but also happiness that a true golf architect was selected.”

A true golf architect. Ouch!

Gary Player tweeted his congratuations and also posted a statement on his website.

The statement:

“This is an important project that is not just about designing a great golf course.  It is much bigger than that.  Golf is returning to the Olympic Games for the first time in more than 100 years and all of us in golf have the responsibility to help make its return a huge success.  I, and our entire company, will do whatever we can to help make golf in the 2016 and 2020 Games meaningful, successful and a permanent part of Olympic competition.”

“We would like to express our sincere thanks to the IOC, IGF, GAC and the Rio 2016 Committee for considering our proposal.  We really enjoyed being part of the selection process and wish the City of Rio de Janeiro and Brazil all the best in hosting both the 2016 Olympic Games and the 2014 World Cup.  Brazilians have a way of making you feel welcome and it is fantastic that the world will have the chance to experience what a wonderful country Brazil is,” said Black Knight International CEO, Marc Player.

“We would also like to congratulate the other finalists.  Any one of them would have created a superb design that the golf world would have been proud of,” he added.

Annika Sorenstam was also a good sport:

I would like to congratulate Gil Hanse and Amy Alcott on being awarded the bid to design the 2016 Rio Olympic golf course. It is an honor to have been a finalist for this opportunity. I have thoroughly enjoyed working with Jack and his team and learned a lot from one of the best in the industry. This is an exciting time for golf.

Tom Doak took to's discussion board to issue a reaction.

Some disappointed faces in my office, obviously.  

I had dinner with Gil in Rio in December, and told him then that if we couldn't get the job, I hoped he did.  My congratulations to him, and best wishes for the work that lies ahead to prove that the committee made the right choice.

P.S.  Thanks to all of those here who expressed their support for our bid.  A lot of good that was worth!

Phil Mickelson was asked about the announcement at Doral:

Q.  Today the Olympic Committee announced that Gil Hanse would be the designer for 2016 over Hall of Famers like Nicklaus, Player, Norman.  You've been complimentary of his design styles in the past.  Curious your thoughts that he'll be designing?

PHIL MICKELSON:  I'm a big fan of Gil Hanse.  I think he's one of the best architects in the business.  He understands how to make a golf course playable for the average player but challenging for the good player.  He does it better than probably anyone, Crenshaw and Coore maybe being the exception.

For him to get the Olympic job, I give the Olympic Committee a real credit, a lot of credit, because, it would have been easier to go with a big name.  And instead, they went with the best.  I thought that was pretty cool.

Critical reaction was positive, starting with this from Brad Klein at Golfweek:

Now Hanse will be flying down to Rio de Janeiro. The decision to hire Hanse, who has enlisted LPGA Hall of Famer Amy Alcott on the project, represents a powerful endorsement of a post-modern, links-inspired orientation to golf at the highest level of international competition. Beyond what this means for Hanse’s own career, it is a powerful step in the emergence of a more naturalistic, more traditionalist and ecologically sensitive approach to golf and golf-course design.

Colin Hancock at CNN says the announcement was a great first step but that there's more needing to happen to make golf in the Olympics work.

Clearly it’s important that Rio is left with a first-class, environmentally-sustainable golf course, suitable for all levels of player. But it’s even more vital that the course is able to help produce an exciting tournament fit for the occasion, one that inspires and showcases talent. Hanse’s track record suggests the Rio Organising Committee and the IGF have made a good pick, although until the course takes shape, under huge time-pressure, no-one can be really sure.

And obviously it’s not all down to the course. Golf’s standing in the Olympics will also rest in part on having a fair spread of competing countries, on the stage being thrown open to those beyond the traditional powerhouses.

It’ll also depend on the format, and there I fear the wrong decision may already have been taken. Week in, week out, Tour professionals play four rounds of strokeplay. It’s the fairest test of great players. However the most reliably-exciting tournament in the world is the Ryder Cup, based on matchplay, head-to-head drama that can grip even the most casual of observer. As things stand the Olympic tournament will be strokeplay.

And the video, as promised...

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Reader Comments (19)

Phil always lauds Gil - any chance of some future joint ventures there?
03.7.2012 | Unregistered CommenterTighthead
Wonder if Annika would like to reconsider turning down the Solheim Cup captaincy?!?
03.8.2012 | Unregistered CommenterDel the Funk
I'll bet Poppy Hills is feeling pretty stupid right about now.
03.8.2012 | Unregistered CommenterAdam Clayman
D'OH! I had Norman/Ochoa as the dark-horses.

Oh well i've been wrong many times before and will be in the future...glad to see Hanse got the nod....lets hope that all goes well in the construction phase.

Any word on if they're going to use locally quarried materials or are they going to import?
03.8.2012 | Unregistered Commenterjohnnnycz
A great choice. Not agreeing with Colin Hancock on a match play format though, golf is an individual sport in the Olympics, it is the team format that makes MP exciting @ Ryder Cup and Pres Cup. We just saw the MP Tourney, and it was easily the least exciting weekend of golf to watch this year.
03.8.2012 | Unregistered CommenterBrianS
Hats off to Gil Hanse and Amy Alcott, et al for being commissioned to design and over-see this exciting project. The magnitude of its importance to the entire golf industry is HUGE! The whole process will be media frenzy - Gil and his staff will have a great opportunity to educate and include the whole world in the evolution of this very important project.

This project is going to create so much attention - positive attention - for the entire golf industry.

Having been involved in hundreds of RFP's through the years I cannot remember any golf project garnering so much publicity and attention. It is very exciting to see the golf industry get some positive "front page" news.

The game appears to be recuperating nicely from the economic malady that has keep it 'bed ridden' for the past 5 years or so.

Last week's Honda excitement and the anticipation for the upcoming event at Doral this week coupled with Gil's announcement for the Olympic Course in Brazil, and then even throw in The Donald's purchase of the once proud Doral Resort, and I would say the patient is recovering nicely.
03.8.2012 | Unregistered CommenterTheProfromDover
I was fortunate to enjoy a dinner a couple of year's ago with Gil and his design team after a day's work in their renovation at LACC, along with Geoff and pal Tommy Naccarato. I was struck by Gil's graceful, understated manner. He is a true gentleman, and I couldn't be happier for him and his team, and for Geoff. I am also a bit shocked that the Olympics made a decision based on merit. Now if they could just give the format a little more thought.
03.8.2012 | Unregistered CommenterRobert Matre
Really great news. Congrats to Gil Hanse and his team and kudos to the Olympics. Love what Klein wrote: "a powerful endorsement of a post-modern, links-inspired orientation to golf at the highest level of international competition" -- Geoff, you should take a bow as well. You've succeeded in getting a lot of eyeballs engaged and helping to set the stage for the golf world to embrace this decision.
03.8.2012 | Unregistered CommenterF. X. Flinn
24 hours of love and counting at golf's most cynical site. Makes me wish I had played one of his courses.

There may be hope though, since he is working with The Donald who was in Charlotte yesterday pitching chandeliers to members of The Point. If the stars align correctly,and Hanse/Trump relationship continues. Charlotte is on the way to Doral from Hanse's home, Doral is on the way to Rio....
Adam: You think Poppy Hills is feeling stupid, how about the Olympic Club who turned down Gil for Bill Love and ended up with a disaster going into the US Open in a few months.
03.8.2012 | Unregistered CommenterJoel
Is Doak's only comments on No official congratulatory statement from Renissance? Interesting...

Really thrilled for Gil. Proud day for those with a love for golf course architecture.
03.8.2012 | Unregistered CommenterJB
Life is good!
Seems that Karen Crouse (NY Times) was leading with the golfer/architects in her blog article, and not the architects. Hard to figure out what her angle is…
03.8.2012 | Unregistered CommenterWill o'the Glen

It's like Tiger Woods. It doesn't matter who wins the golf tournament, it's how did Tiger do, even if he finishes last.

Karen Crouse is more concerned about Jack Nicklaus than Gil Hanse.

She should read, RTJ2 comment, a real architect won.
03.8.2012 | Unregistered CommenterJSS
Geoff - explain your "ouch" re RTJ II's comment - "a true architect won." I took this as a great compliment to the winner. Did you think it was a put down to one or more of the others?

03.8.2012 | Unregistered CommenterJim Beckner
Jim - I took it as a shot across the bow of the "player architects" in the mix.
03.8.2012 | Unregistered CommenterJeremy
A compliment to the winner and a huge shot at some of the finalists!
03.8.2012 | Registered CommenterGeoff
The Philadelphia School is alive and well.
03.8.2012 | Unregistered CommenterPaboy
You´re welcome to the upload! Hahahaha
03.13.2012 | Unregistered CommenterFernando Barra

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