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Rio seeks bids for 2016 Olympics course

RIO DE JANEIRO -- Rio organizers are asking architects interested in designing the golf course for the 2016 Olympics to submit proposals this month, with a winner to be picked before Christmas.

The Rio Olympic committee says companies or individuals wanting to design the course will have until Oct. 28 to apply, and the winning candidate will be announced Dec. 23.

Applicants must have prior course design experience, and the project will have to meet several specifications put in place by organizers.

The committee said Monday the course also would have to leave a legacy to Rio and become "an important tool for youth transformation through sport."

Some of the sport's top names have expressed interest in designing the course, including Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Greg Norman.

The proposals will be examined by a jury made up of members of the IGF, the 2016 Olympic committee and the city of Rio.

The committee said the winner would be paid $300,000 for the design.

Any international company bidding for the design must have an office legally established in Rio.

Nicklaus and Annika Sorenstam, among those who helped persuade the International Olympic Committee to bring golf back to the Olympics, said in May 2010 they were interested in building the golf course. They offered to do it for free. Norman is working with retired Mexican star Lorena Ochoa.

"Because of how the Olympics are regarded and respected, I see this as a tremendous opportunity to introduce and grow the sport of golf in new and emerging markets," Nicklaus said Monday. "I would very much like to further that objective by collaborating with Annika on the design of the Olympic venue in Rio."

The Rio golf course will be built in the Barra da Tijuca neighborhood, which will hold most of the Olympic venues. The course is expected to be located about 3 miles from the athletes village.

The committee said that after the games, the course would be managed by a "private operator with the chief purpose of promoting golf in Brazil and in South America, representing one of the most important games' legacies for sport development in the country."

Golf made its debut at the second modern Olympics in Paris in 1900, but was dropped after the 1904 games in St. Louis. The sport was reinstated by an IOC vote in 2009 that also guaranteed it a place in 2020.