IBM is helping fuel another round of technology improvements at the U.S. Open.
The world’s top golfers will descend upon Pittsburgh in two weeks, competing in golf’s second major championship of 2016 at Oakmont Country Club.
The USGA, which puts on the U.S. Open — now in its 116th year — teamed up with IBM again to develop technology meant to help improve the viewing experience both for fans in person and at home.
GeekWire covered the intersection between golf and technology at last year’s annual tournament at Chambers Bay, which was the first U.S. Open where spectators were allowed to use their mobile devices on the course.
Mobile devices will be permitted again this year at Oakmont — there will be WiFi at all grandstands and designated WiFi zones — and IBM is debuting a new-and-improved U.S. Open app on June 10. The app lets fans see where each player is on the course, along with an interactive course map that shows fans where the concession stands, WiFi zones, grandstands, merchandise tents, first aid stations, and more are located.
One new addition to this year’s app is PlayCaster, which utilizes scoring data and pace-of-play information to predict where a player will be at any given time during his round. It creates a “map in motion,” allowing fans to scroll forward or backward in time to predict where a player might be; it also shows players’ past shot locations.
For example, if you’re at the 18th hole and wondering when Jordan Spieth will come by, PlayCaster can tell you. This is the first major golf tournament to use PlayCaster technology.
IBM also placed around 70 beacons at 14 locations across Oakmont that will send location-based alerts to spectators, like merchandise offers or “memorable moments” that have taken place at past U.S. Open tournaments at Oakmont.
The app also features on-demand video, highlights and three channels of live streaming coverage.
Finally, there’s also a “Virtual U.S. Open” that the USGA puts on in partnership with World Golf Tour. Fans can play the video game and have a chance to win tickets to next year’s U.S. Open.
For those attending the U.S. Open later this month, check out our tech tips from last year’s tournament.