Faldo's Olympian Effort: Big Course, By Big Names

AKRON, Ohio -- Golf is an individual sport. So is course design, in many fundamental ways

Something about too many cooks in the kitchen comes to mind.
Which is why the Olympics proposal that Nick Faldo has floated to the International Golf Federation is more than a bit unusual, if not completely heretical.
With golf set to make a re-appearance at the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil, the host venue hasn't yet been built and several big names have offered to design the course, including Jack Nicklaus, Annika Sorenstam and Greg Norman, among others.
Faldo, a six-time major winner and a designer himself, has pitched an altogether different plan in a letter to the IGF, which is in charge of the game as an Olympic sport.
At first blush, it sounds as though it could produce the biggest clash of egos in the history of the sport. It might even require a referee.
But if handled properly, it could certainly achieve Faldo's intended result -- to create a slew of publicity around the world about the Olympics push, because big-name players and designers from every corner of the world would potentially be involved in building the crucial host venue in Rio de Janiero.
Here are some excerpts from Faldo's letter to IGF brass:
"It is my hope that with this letter you might consider a genuinely international collection of player-designers, comprising major champions from all around the world working in the ultimate Olympic spirit as a design collaboration. What a tremendous, ongoing, global and historic story we could write for our sport as a truly international team of men's and women's champions create the venue for golf's return to the Olympics in 2016. Certainly some of the most-respected course designers in the world come from a global pool of the most-recognized champions.
"It is understood that the complexity of the site and the demands of the Olympic event would necessitate a unified and experienced process architecturally; as they say, egos should be checked at the door, but please imagine the worldwide interest and appeal this Olympic course as the truest collaboration of men's and women's champions -- from every continent.
"Consider for yourself, the major-champion designers from the continents of Africa, Australia, Europe, North America, South America and Asia. The announcement of this collaboration alone would generate true and positive worldwide interest and press in a truly Olympic story."
Faldo did not mention in the letter if he had spoken specifically to any players, nor did he identify any designers who were interested in the idea. In Faldo's mind, a lead architect would likely need to be appointed, but he believes that designers would leap at the chance to be involved in the project.
Just throwing around random names here, but if player-designers like Nicklaus, Palmer, Woods, Mickelson, Els, Faldo, Norman and their design ilk jumped in with both feet, it's undeniable that the interest in the project and Olympics push would increase overnight, and give several countries the feeling that their nation had participated in the outcome.
The site for the course in Rio has been identified, but no designer has been named.
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