The Open Open | NTT DATA

Wed, 21 July 2021

The Open Open

The Open Championship had a new dimension this year: Open Data

As well as the analytics and visualisations NTT DATA provided through The Open app, we’re also releasing the raw data about each shot. It’s part of our wider Connected Data initiative at NTT DATA: data and intelligence truly become powerful when datasets are connected in the service of particular use cases.

NTT DATA have been working with The R&A on providing interactive data visualisations to enhance the spectator and fan experience at The Open championship. Having had the privilege to attend day one, I can see why my colleague Laurance Norman talks about data providing context to the spectator. Even watching the exciting finish at the 18th green, knowing how the rest of the field are doing is crucial.

Our electronic ‘Data Wall’ has proven incredibly popular in previous years and social distancing this year means we’ve now made the experience a phygital and personalised one through the Open App. But this year we wanted to go further and make the data behind the wall completely open source. A growing number of organisations are realising the collective benefit of publishing data – some of them close partners like Microsoft. To put it in economic terms: when data is shared and correlated with other data, its value can increase exponentially. Because we don’t always know what we will find when we make these correlations, openly sharing data – in a machine-readable form – creates potential for that value to be released.

Many of our customers are trying to pursue an agenda of internal data openness – more commonly called data democratisation. The benefits for the organisation parallel those of Open Data – innovation thrives and staff are more likely to turn to data for decision-making because it is at their fingertips. For our commercial customers, the challenge is creating more effective data sharing mechanisms such as a data fabric to enable data innovation across the organisation. For government, it means addressing issues that prevent data transfers between departments such as legal gateways, data standards and data skills (to read about all 13 critical success factors, see my recent blog). For The Open it’s about drawing on the collective intellect of the data science community to gain new insights about the game - because the ever-changing nature of golf leaves its imprint on the data.

Now the Championship is over, NTT DATA will be sponsoring a competition to analyse and model the data that has been collected with the objective of answering some of the more complex issues in the modern game. The final challenge has not been determined at the time of writing as we’re excited to see how this year’s Championship plays out. One possibility is to start with some of the most common performance indicators such as greens in regulation, most fairways hit or number of putts and determine how these correlate with tour or match results or with course specifications. The competition will run on the Kaggle platform and entrants will compete for the right to choose which charity receives the prize money.

Steve Otto, Chief Technology Officer at The R&A said “We’re transforming the way we use data at The R&A and using new technology to gather richer datasets every year. This initiative with NTT DATA is the perfect opportunity to bring innovation from citizen data scientists to bear on the Championship as we gear up for the 150th Open next year.”

The Open Open is part of NTT DATA’s ongoing involvement with The Open throughout the year.

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