New scoreboards a hit for PGA Tour fans

By Andrew
Lippe

For PGA
fans heading out to the course to see players like Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson
and Jim Furyk smash the ball around a course can be a lasting lifetime memory.
But it can also be a frustrating one as fans attempt to keep up on the action
from 18 holes while only being in one spot. And it is not much easier for the
PGA and its broadcast sponsors.

“Golf is
the hardest sport to cover,” said Steve Evans VP Information systems, at PGA
TOUR.

That’s one
of the reasons the PGA Tour last week left the Glow Cube Leaderboard, which had
been a staple in providing PGA scores and pictures for decades, behind and
moved on the new LED boards from Mitsubishi. The Glow Cube Leaderboard
displayed only 300 pixels and displayed only in yellow lights while 22
brand-new 20-foot wide LED Mitsubishi Electronic scoreboards will add color
graphics and much more course

information.

Stats on
the scoreboards provided by Shotlink, the PGA Tour data collection system.
Developed with IBM, the system is responsible for collecting stats, and shot
yardages. “The new scoreboards offer an advanced video processor [to handle the
data],” says Evans. Stats include detailing of the longest drives, biographical
info of players, and special content related to past champions.

Five large
video boards were also installed. These were used to display the exciting
moments going on throughout the course. “Fans around the course were able to
watch Phil Mickelson make an eagle,” says Evans. Fans in the past would miss
many shots but now are able to see shots they wouldn’t have before. “Whenever
Phil was approaching the green it was displayed on the screen,” adds
Evans.

Video
boards were located throughout the course. The video board on the first hole
introduced fans to the players. On the 17th hole, fans were privy to player
reactions, instant replays, and facial expressions of players to those fans who
were elsewhere on the course and could not see their reactions when the golfers
teed off.

Fans were
also able to rent XM radios with headphones so fans could watch live golf and
here live audio at the same time. In August PGA will replace old
scoreboards at the Colonial tournament as well. “More ideas are coming down the
road,” Evans adds.