Turbotodd

Ruminations on tech, the digital media, and some golf thrown in for good measure.

Archive for the ‘golf’ Category

Congrats to Captain America

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Congrats to Captain America (Patrick Reed) on winning his first major at Augusta National yesterday!

Reed went into the final round at -14, and ended at -15 — but it was enough to hold off late charges from 2015 Masters winner Jordan Spieth, and Ricky Fowler.

It was another dramatic final round at The Masters, and one that kept golf fans around the globe on the edge of their seat.

Reed was paired with Rory McIlroy for the final round, after Rory turned in a 69 on moving day to enter Sunday just three strokes behind Captain America.  

And after having witnessed that tremendous Ryder Cup singles pairing at Hazeltine in 2016 between Reed and McIlroy (which Reed won 1 up), expectations were high for this final round.

But Reed refused to concede any ground, and Rory just couldn’t get it going on Sunday — his Grand Slam will have to wait.

Written by turbotodd

April 9, 2018 at 2:18 pm

Posted in 2018, golf, masters

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First Day at the Masters

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The first day at the 2018 Masters seems to have proven itself worthy of the hype.

The conditions seemed optimum, and both top players and some fresh names took advantage of them.

IBM powers the website at http://www.masters.com and mobile apps, and between the MyMasters and the “Featured Groups” features it’s proven easier than ever to follow the action remotely.

Thoughts on what I saw from round 1:

  • The greens look monstrously fast. Just ask Sergio Garcia, who bombed a 320-yard drive on the par-5 15 only to have his 207-yard approach shot spin back into the water. Then he proceeded to have a Tin Cup moment, hitting four more wedge shots that also spun back into the drink. It was painful to watch, especially considering Garcia won the green jacket last year
  • Jordan Spieth stirred up another record, birdie-ing five holes in a row on the back 9, 13-14-15-16-17.  It was quite a run, and when he didn’t birdie, his par and bogey saves were spectacular (particularly his chip shot at 18). It’s like Jordan can will the ball to, if not go into the hole, to stop right next to it. He led going into the second round at six-under.
  • China’s Li Haotong, who is only 22 years and is from Hunan Province, shot a stellar three-under 69, which put him only 3 strokes behind Spieth after the first round.
  • Tiger Woods had a mixed-bag round, but he’s certainly still in the hunt, finishing at one over for the first round. Woods got shafted when a line drive out of the woods on 11 hit a man’s chair, a ball that looked destined for the green. But as Sports Illustrated observed overnight with this headline, “Only a fool would write off Tiger Woods after first round at Augusta!” (Although if he doesn’t start making some birdies on those par 5s…)

We’re well into day two, and (SPOILER ALERT), currently the leaderboard is jumbled up with four co-leaders at three-under. So, nobody’s going way low thus far, and it’s proving to be a vicious fight to the weekend cutline!

Written by turbotodd

April 6, 2018 at 12:29 pm

Posted in 2018, golf

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IT Spending: Steady in the Clouds

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Let’s get the most important stuff out of the way first. 

Tiger tees off in the first round of this year’s Masters at 10:42, grouped with Australia’s Marc Leishman and England’s Tommy Fleetwood.

You can feel the Augusta Tiger buzz all over the world (okay, the golf world, anyway).

But enough golf, let’s talk IT spending.

Today’s Wall Street Journal “Morning Download” email had this headline: “IT Spending Outlook is Steady Despite Volatile Days in Tech.”

Volatile? Amazon has lost more than $50 billion of market value in the last week, Facebook somewhere north of that.

But despite that, the talk of trade tariffs and regulation, the Journal reports that “the outlook for spending on information technology appears steady.”

The estimate was based on a survey of 75 U.S. and 25 European CIOs at companies in a range of industries conducted by Morgan Stanley (and most of the firms with more than $1 billion in annual revenue.)

What’s driving the increase? First, the cloud.

The report “found that IT budgets at these firms are set to increase 5.4%, slightly up from 5.2% last year, and that “budget gains are being driven by ongoing growth in cloud computing.” It suggested that 25% of total application workloads will be running in the cloud by the end of the year (up from 20% today).

Cloud was one priority spending area, and security software was cited as another.

Fifty-nine percent indicated they “do not expect changes in tax rates, appreciated depreciation, and cash repatriation” to impact their 2018 IT spending plans, and 29% indicated the tax changes would likely put upward pressure on spending.

A Gartner forecast from earlier this year had projected estimates of IT spend to reach $3.7 trillion in 2018, a YOY increase of 4.5%.

Written by turbotodd

April 5, 2018 at 10:06 am

The Masters Moments

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We’re less than 24 hours away from the most eagerly anticipated Masters golf tournament in recent years.

My journey there last year to see it all live and in person was the opportunity of a lifetime, and a memory I’ll cherish forever.

For a rabid golf fan, it’s the planet around which all other competitions orbit.

But you don’t have to go there in person to appreciate the drama and the beauty of Augusta National.

IBM has partnered with The Masters for 20+ years on the technology used to bring the tournament into a digital experience, and each year the capabilities just get more fascinating.

This year, fans will once again be able to follow the action both on the www.masters.com web site as well as via the Masters Tournament app.

What to look out for this year:

  • LIVE simulcast of broadcast coverage Thursday through Sunday
  • Additional live video streams, including of tournament play at Amen Corner and Featured Groups
  • Masters on the Range — watch the warmups!
  • A “Spoiler Free” mode that will allow you to turn off score-related notifications
  • Shot Tracking Feature — A way to follow each shot on the course, following any player and view every shot, in real time. But don’t let your boss see (unless they’re a golf fan!)

IBM is also putting Watson back to work at The Masters, this time with a “My Moments” capability that uses Watson’s AI magic to create a personalized highlight reel.

This new feature can help you catch up on the great shots of the tournament that you might have missed from your favorite players, as well as the most important shots of the day.

How will it work?  IBM’s AI assistant will “watch” all live-stream video, then parse out clips by recognizing the start and end of a player’s shot.

It will identify the player, the hole they’re playing, and then determine how highlight-worthy the shot is by examining three key vectors: The audio track of the crowd, player gestures (fist pumps, hands in the air, facial emotions, etc.), and a transcription of the broadcast commentary (which Watson will then analyze to highlight emotive keywords).

All this will help the Masters digital team move faster and get the best clips to the global golf audience as quickly as possible.

I have a hunch it’s going to be a Masters for the ages…don’t miss a moment of it (or, at least, the key moments)!

You can download the iOS version of The Masters app here and the Android version here.

Written by turbotodd

April 4, 2018 at 12:23 pm

Posted in 2018, golf, PGA, pga tour

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The Masters: Primed for Some Serious Golf

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It’s Master’s week. 

My favorite time of the year.

And this year’s tournament at “The National” is primed to be a doozy.

Tiger Woods is back, and has already been on the prowl in a couple of recent tournaments.

Bubba Watson and Phil Mickelson, both lefties with an advantage at Augusta National and previous Masters victors, have won prestigious PGA victories in recent weeks with some fantastic golf.

Rory McIlroy also won recently, the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill.

All these previous winners have been peaking, not to mention Ian Poulter who just snuck in the back door of this year’s tournament by winning last weekend’s Houston Open in a playoff with Beau Hossler. That was, by the way, Poulter’s first stroke-play victory in the U.S. ever.

Jordan Spieth, who led the field in Houston in strokes gained tee-to-green this past weekend, and a previous Master’s winner in 2015. 

Justin Thomas. Won the Honda and is the FedExCup leader going into this week.

My point is, there are some seriously great and motivated golfers heading into this year’s Master’s.

I’m not going to pretend to predict a winner, but if you had me pick a top four at this point, it would probably include Bubba, Phil, Tiger, and Jordan.

But honestly, there’s so many great players playing so well…well that’s why this year’s Masters is primed for some serious golf!

Follow all the action at www.masters.com

Written by turbotodd

April 3, 2018 at 9:57 am

Posted in 2018, golf, masters

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Tiger’s Back

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Happy Monday.

It certainly is if you’re a golf fan, and a Tiger Woods fan in particular.

Woods returned to tournament golf for the first time in 300+ days, and after his fourth back surgery back in April of this year, as well as a DUI arrest in May.

Woods’ fans had much to be encouraged by. He turned in a respectable nine under for his own Hero World Challenge tournament in Albany, Bahamas, and was said to be regularly hitting drives 300+ yards (i.e., no back issues were holding back his power).

His long irons were pretty accurate, and his putting aggressive. Not unlike most amateurs, his touch around the greens pitching and chipping was rough around the edges, but even there Tiger turned in some beautiful shots.

Whether or not he’ll be able to keep it up, and whether or not his back will hold up, time will tell. But it was nice to see some of the old Tiger playing among this new generation of golfers, many of whom he inspired to take up the game.

Written by turbotodd

December 4, 2017 at 9:07 am

Posted in 2017, golf, pga tour, tiger woods

Getting Ready For The U.S. Open @ Erin Hills

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The first ever United States Open is being held this Thursday-Sunday at Erin Hills in Erin, Wisconsin.

It’s a good sign that professional players teeing it up at Erin Hills are complaining about the tall fescue grass days before the tournament:

Maintenance crews on Tuesday trimmed the tall fescue along the fairways of four holes at Erin Hills, the site of this year’s United States Open, after several players had criticized the height of the grass. Heavy rain Monday night may have led to the trimming, but some players, most notably Kevin Na, had said the tall grass would lead to unplayable lies.
– via www.nytimes.com

In the same story, Rory McIlroy had this to say:

“These are the widest fairways we’ve ever played in a U.S. Open,” McIlroy said. “We have 60 yards from left line to right line. You’ve got 156 of the best players in the world here. If we can’t hit it in that avenue, you may as well pack your bags and go home.”
– via www.nytimes.com

Exactly. If the players aren’t complaining about the course conditions at Erin Hills before the tournament ever begins, as far as I’m concerned, the course conditions are not tough enough. It’s the U.S. Open!

I played Erin Hills last night…on my PSP4…I don’t know how reliable the course layout was, but based on hole #9 (which the New York Times has called a “tiny terror”), it seemed pretty realistic and should pose a tough but “gettable” challenge to the world’s best golfers starting tomorrow.

There’s a great, somewhat heart-wrenching, story-behind-the-story of how Erin Hills came to built upon the obsession of one man. You can read it here.

So who are my picks?

In no particular order, Jason Day, Dustin Johnson, Hideki Matsuyama, Kevin Kisner, Jordan Spieth, Ricky Fowler, Jon Rahm, Sergio Garcia, Adam Scott, and Justin Rose.

In any case, for me, the U.S. Open is all about the journey, not the destination.

USGA, let that fescue fester!

Written by turbotodd

June 14, 2017 at 11:42 am

Posted in 2017, golf, pga tour, us open

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