Golf-Allure of Brazil and Olympic gold drives Villegas

Thu Feb 18, 2016 4:08pm EST
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By Mark Lamport-Stokes

PACIFIC PALISADES, California (Reuters) - Unusually for a globe-trotting Colombian golfer, Camilo Villegas has never been to Brazil, giving him an even greater incentive to be there in August and represent his country at the Olympic Games.

Villegas is a four-times winner on the U.S. PGA Tour where his success has given the sport a huge boost in his homeland and he is already dreaming of sharing the Rio de Janeiro spotlight with the world's greatest athletes, swimmers and gymnasts.

"It's going to be awesome, to have golf back in the Olympics and it's great for it to start in Rio," Villegas told Reuters during this week's Northern Trust Open at Riviera Country Club.

"It would be a huge honor for me to represent my country there. I've been kind of dreaming of being at the Olympic opening ceremony, that would be pretty cool."

With golf set to return to the Olympics after an absence of more than a century, Villegas is already planning to soak up as much of the whole experience as he can.

"The very first thing that I thought was that if I happen to compete at the Olympics, I want to stay in the Olympic village, I want to experience all of that," said the 34-year-old from Medellin, the second-largest city in Colombia.

"You hear so many stories of being around so many athletes, so many different sports. It's going to be pretty unique. If I am there in Rio, I will be in the Olympic village. I want to experience the whole gig, the opening ceremony, everything."


Camilo Villegas playfully tosses his club after his second shot at the 10th went in the hole during the second round of The Barclays at Plainfield Country Club in  Edison, New Jersey, August 28, 2015.  Mandatory Credit: Eric Sucar-USA TODAY Sports