By Rick Singer
Ever since Augusta National Golf Club hosted its first Invitational event in 1934, a commitment to history and tradition has permeated the fabric of the Masters Tournament, which begins play this week.
While the Masters has delivered many thrilling, magical moments among the Georgia pines of the Augusta National golf course, many people may not be aware of the Tournament’s unwavering dedication to enriching the game of golf. From playing 18 holes on each of the Tournament’s four days — instead of 36 holes on the third and final day, which was the standard 80 years ago — to introducing the first cumulative over/under scoring method, the Masters has consistently established innovative practices that became and remain standards in the sport.
In recent years, several of Augusta National’s new innovations have focused on using digital technology to enrich golf fans’ enjoyment and experience of the Tournament. First and foremost, the Masters strives to be a service to the game of golf by presenting the competition in the most compelling way possible through the innovative use of digital technology. Recently, we’ve seen Augusta National create new ways to feel a part of the Tournament, wherever they are around the world, and through many different types of mobile devices.
Whether you prefer following the competition via interactive apps on an iPad, iPhone, Android or other mobile device, there’s a way for fans of the Masters to watch live HD-quality video on eight channels, follow real-time scores, read the latest news and see highlights. This is just another way the Masters has changed the way fans can stay close to the Tournament, and it is proving to be more important than ever.
While many Masters enthusiasts will be sitting at home watching the Tournament on TV, an increasing number of people will catch the action on a tablet or other device at the same time or when they’re on the go. In fact, last year more than 14 million patrons visited all the digital platforms, a 19% increase over 2012, accounting for an amazing 342 million page views. And the innovation doesn’t stop at the informative website and enhanced apps. Delivering what a fan wants, when they want it, requires an advanced predictive cloud computing infrastructure that can automatically assign the appropriate level of computing power based on an analysis of the real-time traffic, live video coverage schedule and other sources to predict future traffic to the infrastructure, automatically adjusting the computing resources as required.
And don’t be misled by the simple and historic hand-operated white and green leader boards we see on TV. They may be operated manually, but there’s highly sophisticated technology behind the scenes that delivers up-to-the-second scoring electronically to these locations on the course at the Masters. The same information is offered immediately to mobile and web users, and to the CBS, ESPN and International TV broadcasts.
Entering its ninth decade in existence, the Masters remains devoted to developing and adopting new technologies — from creating state-of-the-art greens to producing and distributing HD quality live video feeds to smartphones – that deliver an unparalleled experience to its fans. Clearly a pioneer in the game of golf, Augusta National also is a leader among organizations around the world that are seeking new ways to innovate and integrate cloud and mobile computing technologies into the foundation of their business, so they can use technology and data as a resource to engage, inform and better serve their fans.