Scroll through the years of Masters Tournament history and you will find numerous developments devised by Founders Bobby Jones and Clifford Roberts and their leadership successors that have been noteworthy for their impact on the Masters, particularly with the patron experience in mind.
From the outset, innovation has been the keyword at every step. The inaugural Masters Tournament in 1934 featured the first nationwide broadcast of a golf tournament, by CBS Radio. It was also the first time a 72-hole golf tournament was scheduled over four days with 18 holes daily instead of the normal format of the time with three days of golf culminating with a 36-hole finale.
The 20th year of Masters.com displays that upward curve. IBM debuted what was then called Masters.org on April 2, 1996 as Nick Faldo would go on to rally for his third Green Jacket. The first course cam was introduced in 1998, followed by remote cameras in 2001 located at the practice facility and hole Nos. 12 and 16 and live video from the practice facility and hole Nos. 6 and 12 in 2005. The first iPhone app with live streaming was introduced in 2009. Track was introduced in 2015, allowing visitors to watch their favorite players or the leaders in real time. Other firsts: live streaming of Amen Corner in 2006, first major championship to live stream in 3D (2010) and the first major with streaming access across Masters.com, iPhone, Android and iPad (2011).
Speed ahead to this year as the Masters and IBM celebrate their 20-year partnership to deliver Masters.com on an IBM cloud, with the newest technology imaginable – a 4K Ultra High Definition feed and a combined Featured Groups channel that provides 18-hole, spotlight coverage of two select groupings.
Masters.com will become the first sporting event to broadcast a live 4K Ultra High Definition feed in the United States, available both via DirecTV and streaming via an app on supported Smart TVs. The 18-hole coverage adds approximately three hours of live action each day on one channel and is the first full-round coverage on Masters.com. All mobile apps are free and include the same coverage and features of Masters.com, with the addition of free apps with live scoring for Apple Watch and Android Wear devices.
Scroll below to see the evolution of the Masters website homepage.
“As Mr. Roberts would often say, ‘No public event ever stands still, but gets either better or worse,’ ” Billy Payne, the Chairman of the Augusta National Golf Club and the Masters Tournament, said in 2012. “Therefore, included in the rich tradition that defines this Tournament are the elements of constant and perpetual improvement, necessary development and uncompromising progress. While some years the list is longer than others, trying to get better is simply a part of who we are at the Masters. … We have always tried hard to be on the leading edge of sports production and technological innovation, from concessions to television broadcast, from roped fairways to the Internet to Quonset huts to state-of-the-art facilities, our work never ends.”
That is displayed by this year’s innovations on Masters.com.
“This year’s presentation reflects our commitment to constant improvement in order to advance the visibility of the game and provide the highest quality of content possible,” Payne said last week. “We remain interested in exploring opportunities to deliver coverage in the manner our fans wish to consume it, which is driven by the spirit of innovation instilled by our Founders Bobby Jones and Clifford Roberts.
“Following the action at the Masters Tournament is a priority we work to enhance each year.”