The Masters looks to 'ace' fan experience with IBM's Watson

Computing giant taps AI to create new tools for golf lovers to watch storied tourney

IBM has launched a new partnership aimed at bringing golf fans closer than ever to this year's Masters tournament -- even though no fans will be in attendance.

Continue Reading Below

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
IBMINTERNATIONAL BUSINESS MACHINES CORP.124.54+0.17+0.14%

IBM is an official sponsor of golf's most revered event and it is stepping up to fill the on-site fan void left by the coronavirus pandemic. The company's Vice President of Sports and Entertainment Partnerships Noah Syken told FOX Business The Master's will introduce a feature called MyGroup, which utilizes the company's famed artificial intelligence technology, Watson.

The well-known Watson will allow golf patrons to create customized "feature groups" of the tournament's more than 90 participating professional golfers. In addition, users can access video of every shot by those players throughout the tournament in near real-time through the Master's App.

"It’s something golf fans have been looking to be able to do, and with AI technology we can customize and personalize the experience for fans watching," Syken said.

CALLAWAY GOLF AGREES TO BUY REMAINDER OF TOPGOLF

IBM's Watson will generate a hypothetical "excitement score" using its AI and machine learning capabilities to identify the 2020 Masters' "must-see shots." The technology will utilize nearly 20,000 individual video clips of players' shots captured during last year's tournament as a baseline.

"These excitement rankings models will be used this year to automatically determine which live shots, of similar situations in past videos, a viewer is presented to watch as highlights in their 'My Group' channel," Syken added.

Fans will have access to data that will include tracking stats such as shot lengths and offer a variety of distinct models which will deliver "personalized and important content of popular players and top performers for 'My Group' users," Syken said.

In addition, the information will be used for editorial content on the Masters' App and Masters.com.

GET FOX BUSINESS ON THE GO BY CLICKING HERE

Syken noted that the goal of the partnership is to continue to "evolve the fan and player experiences by bringing data-driven insights, and innovative technology, like AI and the Cloud, to the sports we know and love."

"From our Coach Advisor technology that we launched last year at the US Open, to our work with ESPN Fantasy Football’s app, we are continually leveraging the power of IBM Watson and our IBM Cloud to revolutionize how we watch, consume and engage with sports," Syken said.

The 2020 Masters will tee off on Thursday, Nov. 12, and run through Sunday, Nov. 15.

The tournament is traditionally held at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia during the second week of April. Just weeks before the annual tee off, Fred Ridley, Chairman of Augusta National Golf Club issued a statement that said the tournament would be postponed due to  "the ever-increasing risks associated with the widespread Coronavirus COVID-19."

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE ON FOX BUSINESS