World Cup grass developed in Tifton -, Albany News, Weather, Sports

World Cup grass developed in Tifton

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By  Stephanie Springer  - bio | email

TIFTON, GA (WALB) –The World Cup is one of the most popular sporting events in the world. While most of us don't think twice about the grass, for a soccer player it's very important.

You might be surprised to know that players participating in this year's World Cup in South Africa are kicking around the ball on turf grass developed right here in South Georgia.

To some people, its just grass. "If it is a pretty grass and its green they are happy," said Wayne Hanna, Turf grass breeder.

But this particular grass is special to Wayne Hanna, he developed it. It's called TiftSport and its used on athletic fields all over the world. "There are not many places you travel around the world that doesn't know about Tifton, and if they know about Tifton its because of these grasses," said Hanna.

And right now, Tiftsport is in the spotlight it's being used at one of the stadiums in South Africa for the World Cup. "It does well on athletic fields because it is dense, it is wear resistance and it just has a beautiful look to it and color and so a lot of people have used it," said Hanna

In fact, Hanna says if you plan to play golf this weekend you may be closer to Tiftsport than you think. "In probably 38 degrees north and south of the equator, all the way around the world, there is probably a 98 percent chance they will play on TiftWay or TiftSport sometime this weekend,"

But TiftSport is not the only type of Turf grass developed in Tifton at the UGA Campus, over the years Hannah says they have developed eight to ten grasses that have been used all around the world. "The grasses we are developing right now we are thinking about what the future needs are going to be," said Hanna.

Hanna says next up on the list is developing a grass that uses 40 percent less water.  TiftSport took 12 years to develop and was released in 1997.

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