AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) — Staid and tradition-driven Augusta National is suddenly on the cutting edge of technology.
The club that hosts the Masters isnt particularly known for its embrace of the new. The club agonizes over the slightest change to its course layout. Etiquette is paramount. History is revered.
A pimento cheese sandwich at concession stands is still just $1.50 for crying out loud.
But pop open a laptop when the tournament begins Thursday and for the first time the Masters plans to have nearly all of the 20,000-plus shots available to view on its website just a few minutes after they happen.
Club chairman Fred Ridley said the option is the first of its kind in golf.
“Its been two or three years in developing,” Ridley said Wednesday. “We had it in a beta test mode previously, but now I feel like that we can actually execute on this. So we just thought it was something that people wanted and which supplemented our other forms of providing coverage of the tournament.”
The tournaments online trailblazing is mildly surprising because the in-person mystique of the Masters has always been a huge part of its charm.
In an era where many major professional franchises and college teams struggle to attract a live audience — at least partly because of numerous online and television viewing options — the decision-makers at Augusta National have no such worries.
The throngs that walk the course in Augusta have often paid a small fortune to watch even the practice rounds. In a strange twist, theyll be pretty much the only golf fans who cant enjoy the new technology: Cell phones arent allowed on the course.
Ridley said he doesnt believe the tournaments extra online features will detract from the live experience.
“I think theres always that discussion,” Ridley said of how much access is too much. “I think its a balance — what really drives us is quality. We could have come out with this a year or so ago, but we werent ready.”
The reason they werent ready isnt entirely clear: The club is secretive about pretty much everything that happens in its real or digital world. Still, its fairly obvious its a prodigious undertaking.
The Masters Digital wing takes up a sizable chunk of the media center and the room was buzzing with dozens of workers. The new technology was tested one final time during the inaugural Augusta Womens Amateur tournament last week.
The increased video is the most obvious new feature. Users would conceivably be able to watch a players round in a fraction of the time it takes to watch a full round, getting an unprecedented view at how players navigate the course from the first tee to Amen Corner to the uphill dogleg right finale on No. 18.
The only time shots might not be captureRead More – Source