FAR HILLS, N.J. (June 5, 2015) – A series of new technology and communications tools will be introduced at the 2015 U.S. Open Championship to enhance the overall fan viewing experience, the USGA announced today.
“The USGA has committed significant resources toward technology organization-wide,” said Thomas J. O’Toole Jr., USGA president. “The focus on data not only supports our commitment to conduct an exemplary championship, but also makes it fun to watch, no matter where you are.”
Among many assets, the USGA has significantly invested in its official U.S. Open mobile application, to be released on Friday, June 12 with support from IBM. Live video, an enhanced leader board and mapping features will be seamlessly integrated into the experience, to the benefit of fans who embrace the second screen.
“We’re helping bring golf fans around the world closer to the U.S. Open Championship through a combination of innovative technologies designed to showcase the action and excitement on the course,” said Noah Syken, vice president of Global Sponsorships and Client Programs for IBM, the USGA’s technology partner for the past seven years. “The immersive U.S. Open digital experience, powered by IBM’s Cloud Computing, will enable fans to follow the championship live on the Web or their mobile device and feel as though they are at Chambers Bay watching their favorite player compete.”
Fans using approved mobile devices will be encouraged to download the official U.S. Open mobile app prior to entering the championship grounds, and connect to complimentary Wi-Fi by choosing “USGA WiFi” upon arrival at Chambers Bay.
The robust app, available through iTunes, Google Play and the Amazon App Store, will provide a player locator, enabling fans to target the hole and position of their favorite golfer in real time and plan their on-course experience. The leader board – one of the program’s most popular features – will include live scoring, player highlights and statistics.
An interactive map will assist spectators in navigating the course on-site, as well as locating designated championship Wi-Fi zones, grandstands, concessions, merchandise, restrooms and first-aid tents. “The Latest” navigation link will provide highlights and social media feeds.
In addition, more than 150 volunteers will operate USGA-owned high-degree laser equipment at Chambers Bay, collecting thousands of ball-position data points on fairways and greens. The information will be fed to screens throughout the championship site, including hundreds of digital monitors and new electronic scoreboards.
The 12 on-course boards and a “monster” board at the 18th green will provide a steady stream of performance data, enhanced player statistics and video feeds throughout the course. Fans will be treated to highlights between live groups, including “What just happened?” moments throughout the day’s play.
Intended to pay homage to the USGA’s traditional manual scoreboards in look and feel, the new screens will be able to show more players’ scores simultaneously, for those watching from key grandstand positions.
While video streaming from mobile devices is strictly prohibited at Chambers Bay, fans can take photos during practice rounds, and receive email and texts throughout the course.
Wi-Fi zones located at Spectator Square, the practice facility, a spectator gathering area near the eighth fairway, and the North Meadow will be designated for phone calls and other approved uses.
For the first time, usopen.com and the U.S. Open mobile and tablet apps will offer three channels of live streaming coverage, including daily featured groups, coverage of holes 12 and 15, and “U.S. Open 360.” The last includes exclusive inside-the-ropes and behind-the-scenes video, which will complement the traditional Fox Sports television broadcast fed to nearly 180 countries.
An exclusive live coverage window will be available from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. PDT on Thursday and Friday, June 17-18, prior to the day’s Fox television broadcast. Live feeds continue on Saturday and Sunday, June 20- 21, beginning at 11 a.m. PDT.
The U.S. Open digital platform will also provide news, photos and videos, as well as the opportunity for fans to compete in the Virtual U.S. Open, a realistic simulation of Chambers Bay produced by World Golf Tour.
For more information, visit usopen.com or follow us at @usopengolf or #USOpen.
Media Contact: Janeen Driscoll (firstname.lastname@example.org)