Royal Queensland has been anointed as host club for golf at the 2032 Olympics in the final documents that should help deliver Brisbane as the Games city.
The greatest coup in the riverside club’s 101-year history should be celebrated heartily by RQ members because Brisbane is an odds-on favourite to stage the world’s premier sporting event.
The Queensland Government has submitted a final raft of documents to meet every level of requirement from the International Olympic Committee.
A videoconference of the IOC Executive Board is underway this week with Thursday slated to examine a report from the Future Host Commission which details the updated preparedness of Brisbane to host in 2032.
With Brisbane’s preferred candidate status, the Future Host Commission has been working hand in hand with the Brisbane 2032 committee and the Australian Olympic Committee to reach a final blueprint of venues, legal frameworks, legacy objectives and economic sense.
The proposed golf course for the 2032 bid was not finalised when the Brisbane 2032 committee provided an initial submission to the Future Host Commission.
Royal Queensland has only been locked in as the course within the vast venue plan in recent weeks for the final submission.
It’s believed Royal Queensland trumped Royal Pines on the Gold Coast for the singular honour of being in the box seat to become Australia’s first Olympic golf club.
The quality of the course and the vast amount of room for grandstands, broadcast facilities and Olympic infrastructure are believed to be among the tie-breaking factors in RQ’s favour.
Input from the International Golf Federation and the PGA of Australia had weight in the final decision as well.
Australia has found various ways to woo the world’s best players to our fairways through the Presidents Cups at Royal Melbourne in 2011 and 2019.
The Australian Open’s pulling power with past champions Jordan Spieth (2014 and 2016) and Rory McIlroy (2013) has been another as well as the World Cups played in Melbourne.
An Olympic golf event will be a huge crowd-puller. The men’s event will attract magnetic stars. Equally, it will be a tremendous showcase for the world’s best women golfers bidding for gold on the same stage.
This call in Royal Queensland’s favour will be a huge fillip considering the false start in the club’s Centenary Year when the Australian PGA was cancelled as the pinnacle event because of COVID-19.
The tournament has been re-instated at RQ in 2021 from December 2-5 as the start of a three-year deal that could now become a major tuning exercise before the Olympics.
Royal Queensland is still largely an unseen layout for most Australian golf fans because it hasn’t hosted a professional event on TV since Robert Allenby won PGAs back-to-back in 2000-01.
The Mike Clayton-redesigned layout was the scene of Jed Morgan’s Australian Amateur victory early last year but how low the pros go on the course will be fascinating in December.
The club was building a few new championship tees for last year’s PGA, before it was cancelled, so they are now well bedded down with an extra 35-40 metres added to the par four 14th, for example.
Royal Queensland has a heritage that suits the Olympics rather than the built-for-purpose layout in Rio where Great Britain’s Justin Rose and Korea’s Inbee Park won gold in 2016.
It’s the club where a long-haired Greg Norman was a trainee in the 1970s and the great Arnold Palmer once dropped in by helicopter in 1963 to play a fourball matchplay exhibition match with borrowed clubs.
Palmer won his only Australian Open on the same fairways along the Brisbane River three years later.
Some fresh history will be great for RQ and Australian golf.
PHOTO: Gary Lisbon