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Giant Rats And Alligators Set To Feature In The Olympics Golf Tournament

Giant Rats And Alligators Set To Feature In The Olympics Golf Tournament
By Conall Cahill Updated

It's probably for the best that Rory McIlroy, Shane Lowry et al decided to skip the Rio Olympics golf tournament. Not because of the Zika virus, though. The alligators would probably have got to McIlroy before that. Or the giant, 60 centimetre-tall rodents.

The men's Olympics golf starts on Thursday (the women's event doesn't begin until the 17th) and these are just two of the wonderful creatures that call the course-at the 'Reserva de Marapendi' in Rio-home. Three-toed sloths, monkeys, boa constrictors and copiously-breeding owls will also feature alongside Sergio Garcia, Justin Rose and the rest of the field over the course of the 72-hole tournament.

According to reports, there will have to be five animal handlers on site at all times throughout the event, in order to transport the alligators from one side of the course to the other if necessary.

Last year, International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach had to defend himself after protestors calling themselves 'Occupy Golf' labelled him a "nature killer" and criticised the environmental impact of the Games-in particular the construction of the Olympics golf course, which is due to become Rio's first public golf course when the Games are over.

The giant rodents, called 'capybaras', particularly enjoy the grass on the course, and will "co-exist" with the golfers in a mutually tolerating relationship, according to the PGA Tour. But the owls could pose a problem for Ireland's Pádraig Harrington and Seamus Power, due to their habit of burrowing into bunkers and making holes around 20 centimetres in diameter; and at over five times the diameter of your average golf ball, these are certainly capable of (quite literally) swallowing up a competitor's medal hopes.

However, there is a simple solution-should this happen, the players will "get a free drop" (the PGA Tour's director of international agronomy told the 'National Post').

It is unclear what will happen if an alligator eats one of the players' balls. Or, indeed, one of the players. But, if they've seen Harrington's 'in-contention' death stare, they'll know better than to harm his chances.

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Harrington is due to tee-off at 11:41 AM Irish time on Thursday, going in the second group of the day alongside Matteo Manassero and Danny Lee of Italy and New Zealand respectively, while Power starts his quest for a medal a little bit later (2:47 PM Irish time) and will be accompanied by two rather less well-known figures in Shiv Shankar Prasad Chawrasia (India) and Lin Wen-tang (Chinese Taipei).

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