It's not often that a Hall of Famer is the last kid picked for the team, and if she is it's not likely that she'd be willing to play along. But that's what happened in October when Amy Alcott was asked to join Gil Hanse's bid to design the course for the 2016 Olympics, long after the other finalists—Jack Nicklaus and Annika Sorenstam, Greg Norman and Lorena Ochoa, and Thomson Perrett and Karrie Webb—had teamed up. Last week Hanse and Alcott were awarded the job.
The two met in 2010 while Hanse was restoring the North course at Los Angeles Country Club. Amy (below), who is passionate about golf history, grew up playing public courses and created routings in her backyard using tomato cans as holes, has one course renovation and a co-design to her credit. Still, she won't be involved in the details of the Olympic design. She will, though, make multiple trips to Rio to consult on the routing, bunker positions, fairway lines and a finishing sequence designed to create excitement and momentum swings.
Part of the challenge will be creating a course that will work for men and women over a two-week period, and Gil and Amy plan to watch the USGA closely, since it is attempting to do the same thing with the 2014 men's and women's U.S. Opens at Pinehurst No. 2. Gil and Amy will be guided by their shared appreciation for history and diverse architecture. Golf has been given a second chance in the Olympics, which is a huge opportunity for growth. This team will get it right.
Dottie Pepper is a 17-year LPGA vet and on-course reporter for NBC.