Building a platform of innovation to transform golf data into predictive insights
How the Masters uses AI to scale the capabilities of their editorial and IT teams while providing a great fan experience
Author: Elizabeth O’Brien, Senior Executive: Sports & Entertainment Marketing – IBM Consulting
The Masters Tournament is steeped in tradition. From Amen Corner to Butler Cabin, it seems everywhere you look at Augusta National Golf Club, history is staring back at you. But the Masters has another, more forward-looking, tradition: innovation.
Since 1934, the Masters has pushed the boundaries of innovation in golf, from low-tech inventions like the under-over scoring system, to award-winning technology like serving up every shot, from every player, on every hole through the Masters app. And to help the Masters continue to define the future of digital experience in sports, IBM Consulting developed a next generation “platform of innovation.”
The Masters has always had a clear and consistent vision for the digital experience on Masters.com and the Masters app. Among other things, they want to bring digital “patrons” closer to the Tournament with meaningful insights harvested from data. To do this, IBM and the Masters Digital team worked closely using the IBM Garage™ methodology, a way of co-creating solutions to a variety of business problems. The teams constructed a powerful platform that uses hybrid cloud and AI technologies to transform vast quantities of data into insights.
The result is a digital experience that generates player insights that bring patrons closer to the players they love. Using IBM Cloud Pak® for Data® and Red Hat® OpenShift® to manage the flow of structured and unstructured data, the platform applies the natural language processing capabilities of IBM Watson to analyze millions of statistics and articles, identifying and delivering insight right to the player pages in the app.
In addition, the teams built AI models that could analyze six years of historical Masters data on hundreds of players and more than 120,000 shots. These models generate predictions of every player’s score in every round. Users of the app can then use those projections to help select their Masters Fantasy foursome.
These new features do more than enhance the fan experience. They also automate critical elements of the editorial workflow for the Masters Digital team, which allows them to scale their capabilities and focus their attention on the most urgent, creative work.
These new features join other recent fan favorites, like My Group, Track, and the AI-generated Round in Under Three Minutes, all of which make the Masters digital experience one of the best in all of sports. And they extend the tradition of partnership between IBM and the Masters.