Rio officials assure no crocodile attacks during 2016 Olympic golf tourney

Rio officials assure no crocodile attacks during 2016 Olympic golf tourney

As the Gil Hanse-designed golf course that will host the game's return to the Olympics in 2016 takes shape in Rio de Janeiro, an unexpected hazard has appeared: caimans.

Caimans, which are smaller, more docile cousins of the crocodile, are moving into the water hazards of the new Olympic golf course. The immigration is substantial enough that the International Golf Federation thought it important to squelch fears of an attack on golfers during the Olympic tournament.

“We’ll have a strategy in place that will minimize any possibility of a player or spectator coming across these,” said Anthony Scanlon, executive director of the International Golf Federation, on Wednesday in Brazil, according to Bloomberg News Service. “The risk is minimal.”

Approximately 6,000 caimans inhabit lagoons in the western part of Rio, which has seen significant population growth and an accompanying residential construction boom in recent years. Those lagoons are often polluted with human waste, making pristine water hazards on the golf course an ideal new home.

Still, Scanlon remains confident that the gator families will not make any contact with golfers or spectators.

“The other thing to remember about these alligators is, if they do arrive, they arrive at night and we won’t be playing golf at night,” Scanlon said. “I don’t think we’re going to get a bite.”

Obviously, Scanlon has never seen "Happy Gilmore."

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Ryan Ballengee

Ryan Ballengee is founder and editor of Golf News Net. He has been writing and broadcasting about golf for over a decade, working for NBC Sports, Golf Channel, Yahoo Sports and SB Nation. Ballengee lives in the Washington, D.C. area with his family. He used to be a good golfer.

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