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Masters 2020: ‘My Group’ app gives viewers a front-row seat at tournament

Published: Nov. 12, 2020 at 7:02 PM EST
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - With no patrons allowed on the course, fewer people than ever have access this year to the Masters Tournament. This means more people than ever will watch on air and online.

But they’ve created new technology so you can keep your eye on your favorite players.

The Masters Tournament has teamed up with IBM to put you in the driver’s seat of your own broadcast. It’s the future of sports, and the Masters is blazing the trail.

Virtually everything is virtual this year. For patrons, the Masters is on that list.

“They wanted us to create something that was a personalized experience for anyone viewing this, and it’s so important this year because there are no patrons here,” Shannon Miller said.

Miller is part of the IBM team that helped imagine and develop the My Group feature on Masters.com and the Masters app. It lets you select your favorite golfers and watch their every shot on the course, creating a continuous broadcast produced by you.

When you open the screen, you can watch all the leaders. You can also select favorite players you want to see, and it will create a feed just for you.

Even when you venture away from your favorites feed, the app will switch over when your players are ready to hit a shot.

With nearly 100 golfers on the course at any given time, how do they pull all the pieces together?

“You have CBS, the clipping companies, all the people who come together to make the broadcast work. We use a lot of those same feeds and use IBM’s artificial intelligence technology to determine what are the most exciting shots,” Miller said.

And they do that by teaching the computer about the history of the Masters, shot by shot.

“We ran every single shot the tournament has. Almost 20,000 last year. We run every one through our artificial intelligence engine, and we score them all with excitement factor, and then we can go through and determine which one was the most exciting,” Miller said.

It learns by spotting player gestures, birdies, eagles, and more. It can even predict what the crowd noise would be and find those shots to fill the broadcast gaps.

“We’re laying a foundation that lets you do a whole lot of things for the future,” Miller said.

It’s growing the game by giving more viewers at home a front-row seat.

And this year, the tournament is expecting more than 13 million viewers around the world from 200 countries to tune in.

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