Nicklaus, Sorenstam bring star power to Olympic course bid

OK, so we know that the 2016 Olympics is going to be in Rio de Janeiro. What we don't know is where exactly they're going to be playing. (Augusta too far of a commute, you think?)

There is, as yet, no suitable course for the Olympic golf experience, but there's also no shortage of interested parties looking to design an Olympic golf course. At least a dozen firms have inquired about creating the course, but for sheer star power, it's going to be hard to beat the one headed by Jack Nicklaus and Annika Sorenstam.

The two golf legends helped lead the delegation that got golf onto the Olympic docket in the first place, and now they've joined forces to seek the design rights for the course. They've appealed to the International Golf Federation to create the first Olympic course since 1904. (The IGF will select the architect, and then it will be up to the host city to pony up the cash to pay for the course's design.)

Nicklaus, along with many others, wants the resulting course to be public, so that it can be played by Rio's citizens long after the Olympics have come and gone. He has at least one site in mind, and the plan is that Nicklaus will envision the holes with Sorenstam adding input on the women's tee layout and design.

The Golden Bear has a wee bit of experience in this area. As the AP notes, his company, Nicklaus Design, has created 341 courses now open in 34 countries. Jack himself has designed 271 of those.

There's still a chance that the Olympics could retrofit an existing course. But with the Games only six years away, there's not much time for goofing around. The problem is that building a golf course, from securing the necessary land and permits to moving earth to planting the last flag stick, can often take nearly that long. And if the landowners know that there's a time element involved, well, the purchase price suddenly goes way, way up, along with the red tape involved in the site's development.

Whether a new Olympic course will be built remains to be seen. But we can assure you, dear Devil Ball reader, that if it is, we'll do everything in our power to get Yahoo! Sports to send us to Rio so we can report back. It's a sacrifice we'll make for you.

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