The PGA Tour Is Taking Advantage of VR to Bring Fans Inside the Game
For fans who have adopted the virtual reality technology and watched the first round of the Players Championship using the platform, they were able to view PGA Tour member Jason Day‘s course-record-tying performance as if they were at the real event.
To bring the experience to the fore, the PGA Tour has been testing with virtual reality technology made by STRIVR Labs this season. And on the day Jason Day shot a nine-under 63, the virtual reality cameras were out there and captured what could be considered an iconic moment. This happened to be the first time the Tour used the VR cameras in competitive rounds, and it was nothing less than a fantastic technical chronicle of history.
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PGA Tour Events Viewing Gets More Exciting with VR
With this development, lovers of the game who have a Samsung Gear VR goggles are now privileged to view 3-D footage from the round, and this generates within them a unique spectator experience they can’t find anywhere else. It also produces a feeling of being entertained in the manner of a live event.
“I think it’s important for us to be experimenting with new technologies and getting a sense of where things might be heading into the future,” says Sloane Kelley, the senior director of content for PGA Tour. “We want to have a seat at the table early so that we’re building experiences so that when this technology takes off and people have this in their living rooms, we’re prepared.”
Perchance, there is no any other sport besides golf that can conveniently fit into this emerging concept of using the power of virtual reality to give fans a more-than-amazing viewing experience. For instance, while watching football or basketball in person, you most often focus on the players and their movements. However, in golf, the surrounding environment plays a critical role in the viewing experience. Thus, VR allows users to explore the course and its surrounds in a way that a static viewing experience does not, making it more adaptable to the game of golf more than any other sport.
“I think it dawned on all of us that golf is uniquely positioned for virtual reality and part of that comes back to the scenic places that we play,” says Kelley. “We aren’t in the same arena week in week out. Not that there’s anything wrong with an arena, it’s just different. It’s one of the unique aspects of the game.”
Consequently, the PGA Tour has rolled out 2-D videos for fans to get a feeling and the taste of the content they are producing. This experiment will give fans a chance to experience an event like they were standing on the tee box—like the one shown in the video below—at the raucous 16th hole at TPC Scottsdale during the Waste Management Phoenix Open. This is made possible due to the unique aspects of the game of golf.