Golf: Americans aim for sweep, braced for wildlife, wind

Tue Aug 9, 2016 6:00pm EDT
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By Liana B. Baker

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - The U.S. men's golf team are hoping for a sweep of the medals as they prepare to encounter a variety of wildlife as well as windy conditions that could make the sport's return to the Olympics after 112 years a high-scoring contest.

While Bubba Watson, Patrick Reed and Matt Kuchar all arrived in Rio on Monday after competing at the Travelers Championship in the United States, Rickie Fowler has been in the city for several days and has played the course twice.

"It's all about what the wind does," Fowler said on Tuesday at a news conference. "I was playing on Sunday and had to basically stop playing because the wind was blowing so hard from the wrong direction.

"If winds pick up, shooting even par on the course will be nice," he said.

Par on the Olympic golf course is 71.

The course designer, Gil Hanse, has said the lack of trees promote wind movement and if Rio has its typical windy August conditions the course will provide a really tough challenge.

Fowler has seen a lot of wildlife on the course, which faced a land dispute and environmental challenges before the Games.

He said the exotic capybara rodent was a "decent size animal" that he would try to avoid but he was more concerned about caimans, a kind of alligator.   Continued...

2016 Rio Olympics - Golf - Preliminary - Training session - Olympic Golf Course - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil  09/08/2016.  Rickie Fowler (USA) (R) of the United States and compatriot Bubba Watson watch Fowler's shot during a practice session. REUTERS/Andrew Boyers