The Virtual U.S. Open: Open For Olympic
The setting: The Olympic Club in San Francisco.
The dates: June 14-17, 2012
The event: The 112th United States Golf Association (USGA) Open Championship, better known as, simply, “The U.S. Open.”
Today, the USGA launched the redesigned official website of the 112th U.S. Open Championship, and offers exceptional functionality and new features that will entertain, inform, and engage fans, and present the best online coverage of golf’s toughest test.
This year, the new usopen.com is powered by IBM’s cloud computing technology and will include a number of key features, including live-streaming video, live scoring, an interactive “PlayTracker,” along with access to Web and mobile applications that bring fans closer to the U.S. Open than ever before, wherever and whenever they want.
Also this year, the Virtual U.S. Open will allow fans to experience each hole at The Olympic Club just like the world’s best golfers.
Complete coverage of U.S. Open sectional qualifying, expanded social-media capabilities and enhanced near-time photo viewing are among the upgrades for 2012.
The official 2012 U.S. Open mobile application for Android and iPhone devices will be available for download on June 4.
Like usopen.com, the app’s tablet-friendly design will provide access to live HD video streaming, news, photos, real-time scoring and Twitter feeds.
Following is a debrief of some of this year’s new usopen.com features:
- Sectional Qualifying Coverage: Scoring, photos and stories from the 11 U.S. Open sectional qualifying sites in the United States, all of which will be held on June 4th.
- PicStream Photos: Watch all the action unfold from the 2012 U.S. Open through this near-time photo experience. Some of the best photographers in the industry will be transmitting vivid images directly from the fairways and greens of The Olympic Club.
- PlayTracker Presented by IBM: An interactive leader board with graphic, dynamic representation of groups on the overall course map. Users can look up statistics, access scoring and trending information, and compare a player’s current stats to their previous rounds or to other players.
- Enhanced Course Profile: Videos of The Olympic Club’s Lake Course that feature hole descriptions.
- HD Live Streaming: Users can watch live streams of marquee groups during the first and second rounds on Thursday and Friday. Streaming-video coverage of select holes will also be available on Saturday and Sunday. In addition to watching video on usopen.com, fans can listen to the action via live ESPN Radio streaming.
- Social Media: A page on usopen.com will be devoted to live updates of aggregated tweets from @USGA and @usopengolf, as well as players and broadcasters. In addition, fans will be invited to connect with each other by using the #usopengolf hashtag and by sharing their U.S. Open experiences, comments and photos at Facebook.com/usopengolf.
- Virtual U.S. Open: Fans can play the challenging holes at The Olympic Club just as the best players in the world will. Developed in association with World Golf Tour, the Virtual U.S. Open will allow users to experience golf’s toughest test. Players who make the cut will qualify for a chance to win airfare, lodging and tickets to the 2013 U.S. Open at Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, Pa.
- U.S. Open Mobile Application: Starting June 1, fans on the go can access live video, photos, real-time scoring and tweets on Android, iPhone and tablet devices. In addition, they can stream radio and utilize social media to interact with ESPN Radio analysts.
“We set out to create a multi-functional, easy-to-use website that will provide the outstanding digital experience that fans of the U.S. Open have come to expect,” said Sarah Hirshland, senior managing director, business affairs for the USGA. “With superb photography and video, compelling articles and enhanced interactivity, usopen.com extends beyond the desktop to bring the championship experience to the user.”
“We’re collaborating with the USGA to connect fans to the U.S. Open, no matter where they are located,” said Rick Singer, vice president of Client Executive Marketing for IBM, the official Information Technology partner of the USGA. “Our goal is to help golf fans feel like they’re on the course and part of the action in every round – from the first tee shot to the last putt on the 18th hole.”
About the USGA
The USGA conducts the U.S. Open, U.S. Women’s Open and U.S. Senior Open, as well as 10 national amateur championships, two state team championships and international matches. Together with The R&A, the USGA governs the game worldwide, jointly administering the Rules of Golf, Rules of Amateur Status, Equipment Standards and World Amateur Golf Rankings. The USGA’s working jurisdiction comprises the United States, its territories and Mexico.
The USGA is a global leader in the development and support of sustainable golf course management practices. It serves as a primary steward for the game’s history and funds an ongoing “For the Good of the Game” charitable giving program. Additionally, the USGA’s Course Rating and Handicap systems are used on six continents in more than 50 countries.
For more information about the USGA or to follow all the action at this year’s 112th U.S. Open Championship online, visit www.usga.org.
For golf fans like myself, I couldn’t ask for a better way to follow this year’s U.S. Open action!