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Rio Games golf course progress 'reasonably good': Finchem

PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem speaks to the media at the Memorial Tournament at Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio June 2, 2010
PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem speaks to the media at the Memorial Tournament at Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio June 2, 2010

By Ian Ransom

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Progress on the troubled golf course hosting the sport's return to the Olympics at the 2016 Rio Games is "reasonably good", PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem said on Wednesday.

Construction at the Venue Reserva de Marapendi course, being controversially built in an environmental reservation, was held up for months by legal wrangling over land ownership.

"I was told yesterday that the irrigation system for the golf course had been boarded on a ship in Los Angeles that was headed for the Panama Canal," Finchem told reporters at Royal Melbourne golf club in the leadup to the World Cup of Golf.

"So, hooray, we will now have some water on the property.

"Actually the progress is reasonably good. We think the timeline is in order. We were really concerned there, as you know, for a good period of time.

"But I am going to go down here in spring and look at it."

The Gilbert Hanse-designed course was originally scheduled to be finished by 2014 to give organizers two years to iron out kinks, but it may not be finished until the second half of 2015 due to the construction delay.

After 112 years, golf is returning to the Olympic program in Rio, making it the sport's most significant event after the four major championships.

Players at the revamped $8 million World Cup of Golf will compete in individual stroke-play according to the Olympic format, though a team-based component has been retained from the previous editions of the biennial event.

(Corrects first par to "return" from "debut")

(Editing by Peter Rutherford)

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