American to design 2016 Olympic course

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American architect Gil Hanse will design the 2016 Olympic golf course in Rio de Janeiro.

Organizers announced on Wednesday that Hanse Golf Design was selected over seven other finalists, including Jack Nicklaus, Greg Norman, Gary Player and Robert Trent Jones II.

Hanse will team up with Hall of Fame player Amy Alcott to build the first Olympic golf course in more than 100 years, with the sport making its return after being dropped following the 1904 St. Louis Games.

The announcement by Rio 2016 organizers was made at the site where the new course will be built, in the Barra da Tijuca neighborhood, which will hold most of the Olympic venues.

PLANS ALTERED: The last time Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson were spotted together on Augusta National was in the final round of the 2009 Masters Tournament. They nearly got together this week until plans fell through.

Mickelson and Woods talked about playing a practice round this week, but something came up and Woods couldn’t make it. He said he was home the past two days, practicing in his backyard short-game area or at The Medalist.

Mickelson wound up playing Augusta National on Tuesday with PGA champion Keegan Bradley and Dustin Johnson, giving the three-time major champion his first look ahead of the Masters.

Mickelson reports a lot of grass on the course, which is a good sign (and yes, it will be cut back severely), along with some minor changes to the greens on the par-5 eighth and the par-3 16th.

“After looking at them, I think that some of the more challenging pin placements on those greens were softened a little bit, and made to be not quite as difficult,” Mickelson said.

Mickelson rarely gets together with Johnson and Bradley without a friendly wager. Word is that Bradley had to reach for his wallet when they finished. When asked if they kept score, Mickelson replied, “Just 1 up, 2 up.”

That was accompanied by a big grin.

BACK TO WORK: Paul Casey already has missed five tournaments this year after dislocating his shoulder while snowboarding over the holidays.

Casey figures he’s at about 90 percent at the Cadillac Championship at Doral, which has a 74-man field with no cut.


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