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Aug 12, 2016 | 08:49 am

The Real Star of the Rio Olympics

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.

What do you think of the Olympic Golf Course in Rio? Let us know in the comments below!

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Aug 11, 2016 | 06:15 am

Olympic Golf: It’s A Zoo Out There!

At 6:30 a.m. today, Brazilian Adilson da Silva will have the honor of hitting the opening shot in golf’s return to the Olympics after 112 years. But it seems a number of other “natives” have been on the course for some time. According to numerous reports, the Gil Hanse-designed Reserva de Marapendi course is being frequented by capybaras, a large rodent that, according to Wikipedia, “inhabits savannas and dense forests and lives near bodies of water.” Quoted by the Voice of America, Bob Condon, the media director for the Olympic golf venue, said capybaras “are kind of like a big beaver, a big rat,” while noting that other animals are enjoying the course, as well. “Birds, owls, alligators. You know, it’s like a zoo out here.” Lest you think we’re making this up, the photo above, taken on the course, is from Golf Channel’s Twitter feed.

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Aug 10, 2016 | 08:30 am

Senior Moment

Lost in all the Olympic hoopla is the fact that the U.S. Senior Open is taking place this week at Scioto Country Club in suburban Columbus, Ohio, the boyhood golf home of Jack Nicklaus. The last time the club was in the national spotlight was three decades ago for the 1986 U.S. Senior Open, which was one of five different significant tournaments the club has hosted, the others being the 1926 U.S. Open, won by Bobby Jones, the 1931 Ryder Cup, the 1950 PGA Championship, and the 1968 U.S. Amateur. Nicklaus won’t be playing this week, but will be there as honorary chairman. His presence will be felt in other ways, too, from historic photos inside the clubhouse to out on the course, which he renovated in 2008 with Dr. Michael Hurdzan, who’s based in Columbus. The club is celebrating its centennial this year, which is part of the reason why the USGA selected the club to host the 37th Senior Open. You can get a look at this Midwestern gem on FS1 from 2-7 pm on Thursday and Friday and on Fox from 2-6 on Saturday and Sunday. You can also watch featured groups on usga.org pretty much all day long during rounds one and two and from 2-6 on the weekend.

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Aug 09, 2016 | 08:41 am

Grillo's Rocky Road to Rio

The folks at ShipSticks or FedEx may want to consider approaching Emiliano Grillo for an endorsement contract. Certainly the Argentinian golfer will be ready to listen after American Airlines lost his clubs for nearly 24 hours as he made his way to the Olympics. On his Twitter account Monday Grillo tweeted “delays, re-routing, and 20+ calls can’t find my bag. I am going to miss my chance to compete in the Olympics,” then pleaded “American Airlines, find me a human in JFK, MIA or Sao Paolo that can physically look for my bag and confirm where it is and send it.” His travails continued until early this morning when he was finally reunited with his sticks. Tweeting this photo, he wrote “I am never letting you go again…until next flight.”  Grillo tees off at 11:25 am on Thursday with Sergio Garcia and Patrick Reed. Here’s the complete list of Olympics starting times:  

8:30 a.m. -- Adilson da Silva, BRA; Graham DeLaet, CAN; Byeong Hun An, KOR

8:41 a.m. -- Padraig Harrington, IRL; Matteo Manassero, ITA; Danny Lee, NZL

8:52 a.m. -- Kiradech Aphibarnrat, THA; Gavin Kyle Green, MAS; Thomas Pieters, BEL

9:03 a.m. -- Julien Quesne, FRA; Marcus Fraser, AUS; Shingo Katayama, JPN

9:14 a.m. -- Nicolas Colsaerts, BEL; Jeunghun Wang, KOR; Espen Kofstad, NOR

9:25 a.m. -- Felipe Aguilar, CHI; Danny Chia, MAS; Soren Kjeldsen, DEN

9:41 a.m. -- Fabian, Gomez, ARG; David Lingmerth, SWE; Jose-Filipe Lima, POR

9:52 a.m. -- Rodolfo Cazaubon, MEX; Bernd Wiesberger, AUT; Brandon Stone, RSA

10:03 a.m. -- Danny Willett, GBR; Matt Kuchar, USA; Hao Tong, Li; CHN

10:14 a.m. -- Bubba Watson, USA; Martin Kaymer, GER; Anirban Lahiri, IND

10:25 a.m. -- Jaco van Zyl, RSA; Mikko Ilonen, FIN; David Hearn, CAN

10:36 a.m. -- Gregory Bourdy, FRA; Fabrizio Zanotti, PAR; Cheng Tsung Pan, TPE

10:47 a.m. -- Yuta Ikeda, JPN; Roope, Kakko, FIN; Miguel Tabuena, PHI

11:03 a.m. -- Ashun Wu, CHN; Nino Bertasio, ITA; Scott Hend, AUS

11:14 a.m. -- Joost Luiten, NED; Ricardo Gouveia, POR; Siddikur Rahman, BAN

11:25 a.m. -- Sergio Garcia, ESP; Patrick Reed, USA; Emiliano Grillo, ARG

11:36 a.m. -- Thorbjorn Olesen, DEN; Alex Fejka, GER; Ryan Fox, NZL

11:47 a.m. -- S.S.P. Chawrasia, IND; Seamus Power, IRL; Wen-Tang Lin, TPE

11:58 a.m. -- Rickie Fowler, USA; Justin Rose, GBR; Jhonattan Vegas, VEN

12:09 p.m. -- Henrik Stenson, SWE; Thongchai Jaidee, THA; Rafa Cabrera Bello, ESP

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