- Associated Press - Sunday, November 22, 2015

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) - Rio de Janeiro’s Olympic golf course - slowed by environmental lawsuits, land ownership disputes and doubts it even needed to be built - was handed over Sunday to organizers of next year’s games.

Rio Mayor Eduardo Paes spent 15 minutes defending the course, built in the wealthy neighborhood of Barra da Tijuca, where most Olympic venues will be located.

Paes hugged billionaire developer Pasquale Mauro, who stood alongside him. The developer is spending about 60 million Brazilian reals ($16.2 million) to build the course. He is also constructing luxury marble and glass apartments around the layout, which was carved from a nature reserve.

The new course will host the first Olympic golf tournament in 112 years, showcasing the sport’s Olympic return in a country where the game has little following.

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