See more of the Masters, with Watson

By | 2 minute read | November 9, 2020

For months, the golf world has been eagerly anticipating the first ever Masters to be played in November. And because I manage the partnership between IBM and the Masters, my friends and colleagues have repeatedly asked me what Augusta National will look like in the fall, with no patrons on the course.

Over the years, my work has brought me to the course in all seasons, and I’ve had the privilege of walking the course with nothing obstructing my view: no ropes, no cameras, no patrons. I’ve watched the sun rise in silence over Amen Corner. I’ve marveled at the openness of the course and the dramatic elevation changes. And though we will all miss the roar of the crowd at this year’s Masters, this is a rare opportunity for millions of people to see what I’ve seen. A chance to see more of Augusta National than they’ve ever seen before.

It’s also a chance to see more golf than ever before. This year, IBM and the Masters are introducing an unprecedented digital experience called My Group, which lets you watch every shot, on every hole, from all of your favorite players. Let me say it again, for those who can never get enough of this magical tournament: Every shot, every player, every hole. 

My Group started with a challenge from our partners at Augusta National: How can we deliver a unique, personalized digital experience to millions of people around the world, each with different interests and expectations of the Masters?

This is a tournament with more than 90 golfers from dozens of countries around the world. A tournament that brings 13 million people in more 200 countries to the Masters digital platforms. But what if your favorite player is no longer in the hunt? Or you’re only interested in players from South Africa or Japan?

My Group creates a playlist of shots from the players you select. And between shots, it uses the AI of IBM Watson to analyze the excitement levels of more than 20,000 video clips, identifying and serving up highlights from elsewhere in the tournament, so fans don’t miss any important moments. It’s like producing your own, personalized Masters tournament.

For a quick tour of My Group, check out this video, narrated by the inimitable Jimmy Roberts.

Achieving personalization at scale is a common business objective for IBM’s clients in every industry. And the technology behind My Group is the same technology we’re using to develop unique digital experiences for thousands of clients around the world: hybrid cloud with OpenShift to simplify development and accelerate the pace of innovation; and AI from Watson to drive insight from data and scale capability.

Together, hybrid cloud and AI are helping companies of all sizes deliver the right information, to the right people at the right time. In other words, they allow us to see more of what’s important, in both our personal and professional lives.

We’re all looking forward to the day when Masters patrons line the fairways and surround the greens of Augusta National again. But in the meantime, we can all welcome the opportunity to see more of this stunning golf course, and more of the players we care about.