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The Open: AI to pit golfing greats from the last 50 years against each other

By 13th July 2020 No Comments

Archive content and historic data to bring golfing greats back to the green in a virtual version of The Open.

The Open is using Artificial Intelligence (AI) to create a virtual Championship – The Open for The Ages – with many of the golfing greats of the past 50 years taking to the green.

The event uses archive footage and historical data from previous The Open tournaments. The data is analysed by NTT Data’s AI technology to create a baseline of performance to compare the golfing greats between 1970 and the current day.

This, together with fan votes and engagement will create The Open for The Ages virtual ‘live’ golf championship, which will take place 16-19 July, when The Open was due to take place.

The competition features Seve Ballesteros, Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson.

Neil Armit, CCO at [the organiser of The Open] The R&A, said: “The Open for The Ages is a world-first and a must-watch for golf fans. We have utilised technology to create a compelling concept that brings together golf’s greatest champions from the last 50 years and imagine a Championship contested over the iconic Old Course at St Andrews.

“For the first time, video AI has enabled us to compare and analyse the swings of players from the 1970s through to the modern day golfer. We have also been able to use technology to analyse scorecards and historic data to give us a baseline of information on which to create this concept. In NTT Data, we had the ideal technology partner to support us in turning our ideas into a reality.”

Walter Ruffinoni, co-CEO of NTT Data EMEA, added: “NTT Data has been a patron of The Open for a number of years now, providing technological capabilities behind-the-scenes as well as producing the NTT Data Wall; an interactive fan engagement installation for The Open. We are privileged to work on a first with The R&A, with all its history, especially in a year that the pandemic has caused The Open to be cancelled.

“Building stronger fan engagement through technology is the future of sports and while it will never replace the enjoyment of live events, technology will play an increasingly central role to the experience.”

The Open for The Ages will be broadcast at 11am on Sunday 19 July on Sky Sports; 6am EDT on the Golf Channel, and 7pm on Japan Golf Network.

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