As fans worldwide prepare to watch in amazement as golf’s top talent comes together for The Open Championship 2019 – with NTT DATA as an Official Patron – they might pause for a moment and consider the extraordinary evolution the sport has undergone over the years.
Lightyears away from the feather balls and primitive clubs of the 1800s, or even the first TV broadcasts of the 1960s, golfers now enjoy a wealth of analytical tools to improve their performance and perfect those jaw-dropping tee shots.
For example, video swing-analysis is now widespread. Using high frame rate footage, it allows pros and amateurs alike to gain vital insights into the tiny adjustments required to add increased power and accuracy to their shots.
But that’s just scratching the surface of how technology is changing the game – for players and fans.
Data driving success
By attaching sensors to clubs during training, players can access vast amounts of data relating to each swing they take. This helps identify the precise reasons for success or failure on every individual shot – perhaps increased spin was required to take the ball closer to the green, or a stroke was skewing left due to a weak follow through.
All this information can be stored in the cloud and, in combination with GPS technology, used to inform players which clubs have the highest success rate at any given point on the course. You can access the data on your smartphone or other devices in real-time.
This level of insight would be completely unimaginable even 20 years ago. But the results speak for themselves as pros keep raising the bar – indeed South African golfer Branden Grace shot a record low score of 62, in the third round of the 2017 Open Championship.
With players delivering such high standards, the game needed a fan experience that could match the pinpoint precision displayed on the fairway.
The NTT DATA Wall
At NTT DATA, we’re committed to making sure each unmissable moment of The Open is captured, analysed and visualised – drawing fans deeper into the drama and augmenting the action on the course.
The NTT DATA Wall – a giant digital screen that displays dynamic 3D visuals in addition to real-time updates on scores, rankings and player details, all synchronised with the TV broadcast – will act as a centrepiece of fan engagement.
The NTT DATA Wall is a perfect illustration of how data, digital technology and analytics are transforming the fan experience. By giving fans a strong visual interpretation of the data, we can help them identify hidden trends and surprising insights during the tournament they may have otherwise missed – adding to their understanding and enjoyment of the action unfolding on the course.
AI provides a fresh perspective to fans
Additionally, NTT DATA are using artificial intelligence (AI) technology to capture spectator’s reactions to all the spectacular action – processed completely anonymously. This information will be analysed throughout the tournament, with the most exciting moments updated each day and ranked on the NTT DATA Wall.
Excitingly, this year the same technology is also being used to study player’s facial expressions and body posture. For the first time we will be able to gain an insight into the players’ emotions as they step up for the crucial shot, attempt to make birdie, or save par. This will help us reveal the fascinating human drama that underpins the sport like never before.
Crucially, all of this data is tagged automatically to the broadcast video, and we’re offering selected spectators the use of tablet devices, so they can enjoy watching continuously refreshed footage through the entirety of the tournament. They’ll be able to check out general highlights or filter down to watch their favourite player or a particularly tricky hole – look out for hole 16, known as “Calamity Corner”.
NTT DATA are proud to bring their spirit of collaboration and innovation to The Open 2019, and we’re looking forward to coming up with new and exciting ways to enhance the fan experience even further in the future.