Turbotodd

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

Posts Tagged ‘tiger woods

The Masters Leaderboard Is Live!

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This year's Masters iPad application not only nicely mimics the real deal in Augusta...it also has a sort feature where you can look at leaders according to several categories, including "active players," "past champions," "amateur players," and even "first time participants."

This year’s Masters iPad application not only nicely mimics the real deal in Augusta…it also has a sort feature where you can look at leaders according to several categories, including “active players,” “past champions,” “amateur players,” and even “first time participants.”

That’s it, today’s the day.

The first players have already teed off at the Masters in Augusta.

Yesterday, I discussed the virtual means by which you could experience playing at Augusta National.

Today I’m going to focus on the various means by which you can follow this year’s action on and off the course.

First, and most importantly, the leaderboard.

On the Masters web site, for which IBM is the longtime technology sponsor, you can go to the virtual equivalent of the traditional Masters leaderboard.

You can also find the leaderboard on this year’s revamped iPad app, which I’m quickly leaning on as my 19th hole for following all the action from Augusta.

This year it includes live video from a number of the holes, including Amen Corner, 15, 16, as well as two “featured groups,” a Masters “in-depth” feature channel, and for those warm-ups, the driving range, and over the weekend a live simulcast of CBS’ TV coverage.

You’ll be able to access live radio, news features, and pictures from the grounds (including new 360 panoramic images that I suspect will be suitable for framing!).

As for TV coverage itself, that doesn’t start in the U.S. until 3:00 PM EST ESPN. However, live video coverage begins on Amen Corner starting at 10:45 AM on the Website and via the mobile applications, so if you’re hankering to get out to the action, that’s going to be your fastest way in.

This year, IBM is leaning heavily on its SmartCloud technology to help drive quality and continuous operations, along with the flexibility and scalability required by the Masters.

As players peak on the course, we typically see a resultant workload increase in our technology systems.

This helped lead to have the need to provision a new Presentation Services “instance,” for example, in less than 3 minutes using Tivoli Provisioning Manager, as it helps us get new virtual machine instances up and running quickly.

We are also able to move one workload to another on our POWER systems powering the Masters using our Live LPAR mobility in four minutes without service interruption.

Can you say pressure putt???

So as the tournament begins, who will I be keeping a close eye on?

Tiger, for sure.  Phil. Brandt. Rory. Graeme. Garrigus. Schwartzel. Colsaerts. Poulter. Oosthuizen. Guan (the 14 year-old Chinese kid).

It’s just an incredibly talented field, as, of course, it always is.  Length and shot shaping are always helpful at Augusta, especially right to left, but as Zach Johnson proved several years ago, shorter hitters can score (and win) if they play the right angles.

As for me, I went back and played another virtual round at Augusta last night in my Tiger Woods PGA Tour 12 and shot 2 under.

There’s hope for me yet.  That means I would currently be tied with Jim Furyk for second place in my Walter Mitty golf fantasy.  But it’s only Thursday…

Written by turbotodd

April 11, 2013 at 9:47 am

Turbo’s Virtual Round At Augusta

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Turbo tees off at hole number one at Augusta National, where The Masters has been played most every year since 1934. Only in this case, Turbo has gone all Neo and is playing the Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2012 virtual edition of the course on his Macbook Air. He figures its the closest he’ll ever come to playing the real course.

It’s Masters week, if you hadn’t already figured that from all these golf- and Masters-related golf posts.

I’ve never had the honor of visiting or playing Augusta National myself, but I know people who have.

In fact, I was attending a recent IBM event in Las Vegas when a very senior IBM executive confided to me that he had played Augusta National for the first time recently with several other very senior ex-IBM executive (the gender mix of which I’m not at liberty to reveal.)

I asked him what he shot, and it was a very respectable mid-handicap number, especially for Augusta National — people who don’t know golf can’t really fathom how long 7,435 yards is for a golf course. (That’s why you see so many players who don’t have good distance off the tee hitting long irons and even utility clubs to get onto Augusta’s greens.)

He also explained, as I’ve also heard from others, that TV just doesn’t do the course justice. He explained that the hills and undulations are so much more pronounced when you’re out there walking the grounds.

“Eighteen,” he explained, me nodding my head. “Like walking straight up a hill.”  On TV, it obviously looks like it’s uphill, but not nearly the angle at which he was suggesting.

It was at this point that I had to tune out, as he was killing me with this reveal.

So yesterday, after work, I decided I wanted to get to know the course better, and figured why not try and see if there were any golfing games that included Augusta National in their course lineup.

I figure this is the only way I’m going to play some of the world’s great courses, so it’s probably a pretty good investment.

Turns out, Electronic Arts had released a Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2012 edition in that year that included the ability to play Augusta National, and they had a Mac edition, AND Amazon would allow me to download it on the fly and install it.

All for a whopping $20.

I also discovered the 2014 Tiger Woods PGA Tour edition will have a version of Augusta for the Masters in 1934 — so not only can you play with the likes of Bobby Jones and Ben Hogan and all the other greats, but you can play the course the way Bobby Jones and Alister Mackenzie originally designed it.

You just have to have an X-Box 360 or Playstation 3 (neither of which I own!)

The 2012 version will do nicely for now. Once the DMG was downloaded and I had installed the software and got the online presence set up (the game allows you to play a round with others out in cyberspace), I was off to hole number 1, Tea Olive (see pic above).

My score for the round was atrocious, as I was just learning all the controls for shotmaking in the game (that’s my excuse and I’m sticking with it), but the visualizations and greenery were an excellent way to find your way around the course, and to help you better learn how and why players navigate Augusta National the way they do.

For the record, on number 12, I hit about five balls into Rae’s Creek before finding the green — hopefully not a prophecy of things to come should I ever get to actually play a round at Augusta National.

I also found myself in situations that most Tour players would never find themselves which, for me, is about par for the course.

Written by turbotodd

April 10, 2013 at 10:28 am

Tiger’s New Old Game

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The last time Tiger Woods was the number one ranked golfer in the world was October 2010.  That’s a grand total of 29 months ago.

That all changed this week at Arnold Palmer’s Bay Hill Invitational, which Tiger Woods won running away at -13. That’s Woods’ eighth time to win the same PGA tournament. 

Justin Rose gave Woods his best, but faltered on Saturday before attempting a comeback on Monday’s round (after torrential storms in and around Orlando postponed play on Sunday), and Ricky Fowler tried to match Woods’ performance in the final grouping, but Woods’ irons were too much for Fowler and all the “chasers.”

And then there was Woods’ putting, which was nothing short of masterful.  For the week, he made 19 of 28 putts between 7 and 20 feet.  It was like the Tiger of old — the golf ball seemed to just follow a line from Woods’ putter to the middle of the hole, over and over and over again.

You could hear professional golfers around the globe simply deflate with each stroke of Tiger’s Nike Method putter.

So, Tiger has now won 77 PGA Tour wins, only 5 away from legend Sam Snead’s 82. 

And then there’s The Masters coming up in Augusta in mid-April, the golfing equivalent of the Super Bowl.

You think a few odds makers in Vegas now have Tiger to win this year’s Masters?

Not that I would ever gamble on such a thing, but money does talk, and in this case, online casino Bovada already has Tiger at 11/4 odds to take this year’s green jacket.

But since this is a data driven, technology-oriented blog, let’s look at a few more numbers.

Bleacherreport’s Ryan Rudnansky observes that in 2010, Tiger ranked 109th in putting (strokes gained). 45th in 2011. 36th last year. And this year?

You got it? Numero uno.

At Doral, he recorded just 100 putts for the 72 holes, the lowest putting mark in his career.

Oh, yes, and he’s won three times this year in four stroke-play tournaments (we’ll disregard his nasty bit of business at the Accenture Match Play, where Charles Howell III ousted him in the first match).

Is Tiger’s taking the Master’s in two weeks a done deal? 

Of course not.

Would I pick him over all the other players in the field?

What do you think?

Written by turbotodd

March 26, 2013 at 6:20 pm

Live From IBM Pulse 2013: A Day For Partners

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Turbo starts his IBM Pulse 2013 experience with a quick trip down golf, and "Rat Pack", history by playing a round at the renowned Las Vegas National golf course, one of the courses where Tiger Woods won his first PGA tournament victory in 1996. For the record, Turbo held his own, shooting an 84 (but convinced he could have gone lower if the greens had held).

Turbo starts his IBM Pulse 2013 experience with a quick trip down golf, and “Rat Pack”, history by playing a round at the renowned Las Vegas National golf course, one of the courses where Tiger Woods won his first PGA tournament victory in 1996. For the record, Turbo held his own, shooting an 84 (but convinced he could have gone lower if the greens had held).

Good morning, Las Vegas.

You know, I joke about Vegas as my second home, but I really do have to admit, it’s a city that continues to grow on me.

And I’m sure that couldn’t have *anything* to do with the delightful, if dreadfully slow, round of golf I played yesterday at Las Vegas National.

As I mentioned in a post on Friday, this is the very same course (one of three) where Tiger Woods won his first PGA Tour event, the Las Vegas Invitational, back in 1996 (he beat Davis Love III on the first playoff hole to win).

It’s also where Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Jr., and others of the infamous “Rat Pack” used to hang out. I was only fifty years late on that front, but nonetheless, I did experience the course in all it’s glory and managed to pull of an 84. Considering Tiger’s 70 in 1996, I figure I was only .77 strokes a hole behind Tiger.

But enough sports analytics, because now all the play is behind me as I get down to work and the matter at hand, IBM Pulse 2013.

Please see my last post for some tips and tricks for navigating this year’s event (oh, did I mention, bring or go buy some comfortable shoes)?

I made my first navigation from the MGM hotel to the Convention Center this morning, and on the way, saw the now annual Burma Shave-like signs reminding us “we’re almost there!”

My favorite: Multitasking is all about doing several things badly all at once (There will be more of those tidbits of wisdom to come in future posts.)

Amen, oh great IBM Tivoli Confucian hallway philosopher!

Of course, this ain’t no Blazing Saddles shindig, so you actually *do* need a stinkin’ badge.

So, I picked mine up and wandered on into the Pulse Business Partner Summit to break a little fast, and chat with some of our partners.

When the lights went down, IBM Tivoli general manager soon hit the stage to “introduce” himself to the gathered wall-to-wall audience.

And it was quite an introduction.  I’ve interviewed Deepak a few times now at IBM events, and even I had no idea of his depth of experience at IBM.

He explained he’s once been a UNIX programmer and helped bring TCP/IP to the mainframe, had worked on the SP2 supercomputer that once upon a time outwitted a Soviet chess superpower, and helped implement a number of key high availability and systems management capabilities into IBM’s mainframe line.

More recently, Deepak was the chief marketing officer for Lenovo before returning to the IBM fold to lead our Business Analytics efforts and oversee the acquisition of SPSS.

Deepak warmed the audience to him with a very funny story about having been representing IBM with its new supercomputer at a conference in frigid Rochester. Apparently, the IBM computer was very plain and vanilla looking, and so the competition started making fun of it.

Deepak and his team decided to run out to Wal-Mart and purchase some Christmas lights, which they promptly wrapped around their supercomputer (turned out IBM had the fastest supercomputer, Christmas lights and all).

IBM Tivoli general manager Deepak Advani opens the Tivoli Business Partner Summit by introducing himself to the Tivoli crowd and explaining the depth and breadth of his background, which began as a UNIX systems programmer and shell script author back in the day. Advani now leads the IBM Tivoli organization worldwide, and will be featured prominently throughout IBM Pulse 2013.

IBM Tivoli general manager Deepak Advani opens the Tivoli Business Partner Summit by introducing himself to the Tivoli crowd and explaining the depth and breadth of his background, which began as a UNIX systems programmer and shell script author back in the day. Advani now leads the IBM Tivoli organization worldwide, and will be featured prominently throughout IBM Pulse 2013.

After establishing his background and bona fides, Deepak got down to business, reaffirming the critical importance of IBM’s partners to the Tivoli and broader IBM business, but explaining none of us in the ecosystem could rest on our laurels.

“We must bring more industry and domain expertise” into our technologies, Deepak asserted, “and we must also bring our line of business and IT audiences more closely together.”

This, of course, observing a theme pervasive within IBM since CEO Ginni Rometty took the helm: We must focus more on our line of business executives.

From CMO to CFO, they are increasingly involved in the IT decision-making process, and the back office has moved to the front, requiring a more collaborative “sell” for both constituencies.

Deepak also acknowledged the pain IT organizations felt these last several years, and explained that’s why IBM has worked to try and free them from operational matters with technologies like PureSystems, so that they can spend more time working with their LOB partners on innovation.

Finally, Deepak walked the audience through a number of key core and growth priorities, ranking among them the continued focus on mainframe and storage evolution, the importance of standars, and looking forward to growth areas like endpoint management and cloud computing.

He talked specifically about the notion of the “portability of workloads,” explain how IBM has taken patterns from PureSystems and moving them to the cloud. (A line of questioning I aspire to take up in my interview tomorrow on the Livestream stage with PureSystems’ Nancy Pearson and Jason Gartner.)

He also tiptoed through the world of “dev-ops,” with specific regard to managing the life cycles of applications.

Finally, Deepak explained we can do more to improve the design and usability of our portfolio, and also use analytics (his old job!) to improve and make better operational decisions.

Pulse 2013 is underway…hold on to your console!

It’s Snowing In Tucson

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Okay, golf fans, the Accenture Match Play tournament has finally moved from being one big snowball fight in the parking lot to an actual competitive golf tournament.

I had turned on the TV late yesterday afternoon to check in on the supposed first day’s play that I had recorded on the DVR, only to discover that play was slowed to a halt by a snowstorm…in Tucson. In the desert.

I’m not making this up.

For you golf novices, match play in golf is very different than the traditional stroke play you see on your typical weekend golf tournament.

In match play, think about how the 64 brackets in the NCAA basketball tournament break down, and you’ve got the gist of it.

For the Accenture, sixty four players are grouped into four super brackets, and in each, one player faces off another player in the first round.

Whoever wins the most holes out of the 18, wins that match and, like in college basketball, moves on to the next round.

It’s also an entirely different kind of golf strategy. When your opponent makes a mistake, you work to seize on that mistake by not screwing up yourself, so each match can be akin to watching a dance — the only question is, who will step on who’s golf shoes?

In the finishing of round one that just got underway mid-afternoon Tucson time, there have been a few surprises.

South African Charles Schwartzel, a favorite going in, lost 1 up to rookie Russell Henley.

Spaniard Sergio Garcia almost gave away a commanding lead to Thai golfer Thongchai Jaidee (who, by the way, saw his first snow ever yesterday…also in Tucson!), and they battled it out into extra holes until Garcia took the match 1 up.

Our favorite European Ryder Cup nemesis, evil-eyed Ian Poulter, stepped away from his Twitter account long enough to take out Stephen Gallacher 2-1.

But the matches much of the golf world are holding their breath for are those featuring Tiger Woods v. Charles Howell III, and world ranked number one, Rory McIlroy, matched against fellow Irishman Shane Lowry.

The big question on my mind: Has McIlroy adjusted yet to those new $90 million Nike golf clubs? Rumor was going into the tournament, he had already switched back to his faithful Scotty Cameron putter, but then I’d read Nike had added some weights to his custom “Method” putter so he’d switched back to all Nike, all the time.

Switching clubs is not always a seamless transition, as I recently discovered, and I don’t depend on my clubs to make a living. McIlroy’s first three holes today would suggest they’re good enough (he was 1 up after 3 last I checked).

Tiger…well, Tiger’s just been on, and he probably also just beat the leader of the free world by a good 20 strokes last weekend (President Obama), so his confidence is probably high.

Could it all come down to Woods v. McIlroy in the championship match on Sunday (or, Monday, assuming the snow delay pushes out the finish)?

Methinks the golfing gods won’t be THAT generous to we fans, but I’m certainly willing to send that energy into the universe to try and make it so. CBS will never have seen golf ratings so high so early in a golf season.

Written by turbotodd

February 21, 2013 at 10:21 pm

Golf Gate

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Listen up, I’m not going to get all bent out of shape over what we’re apparently now referring to as “Golfgate.”

The background: President Obama hopped a plane (actually, Air Force One, but “hopping a plane” makes it sound a lot more casual, which is what I think he was intending, a casual weekend where he could chill out away from the limelight) down to Florida for a long weekend of golf while Michelle and the kids went out west to go skiing.

The President’s team kept the press away from what was essentially a private golf course, and hence were unable to take any pictures of his swing the entire weekend.

Then, out of nowhere, Golf Channel correspondent Tim Rosaforte Tweets the following: “The President is arriving at The Floridian range. Awaiting is Tiger Woods and club owner Jim Crane. Historic day in golf. Their first round.”

Tiger Woods was in the house, and he was going to play golf with President Obama!

I’m sure the rest of the world yawned, but in the world of golf, this was a pretty big deal.

Looking at the tick tock, this was 7:52 AM EST.

By the time the evening news rolled around, the media were trying to make it a big deal that they hadn’t been invited to the Tiger/Obama foursome, missing the point that that would have turned the foursome into an eightysome, which can be quite disturbing on the golf course.

And still most of the rest of the country yawned.

But in the golf world, we wanted more details.  Lots of them.  Rosaforte, get your — out on that golf course and tell us what’s going on!

What kind of clubs does the president play with? Did Tiger give any tips to the Prez to improve his game?  If so, what???  Did he treat the rules with some casualness, as apparently did President Clinton, or did he play it straight and take no mulligans or without kicking any balls out of the rough?

This is the leader of the free world, man, we want to know what his game is like, how he swings the club, how accurate he is on the approach!

Tiger kept his lips sealed until yesterday when, I guess, he’d already arrived out west for the Accenture Match Play Championship. During an interview, he finally gave it up: The President, he said, has a good short game (chipping and putting), and that if he kept it up (after he left the Presidency) he’d be “a pretty good stick.”

Whoa…well, a good short game, that’s always a good thing, of course.  I aspire to a better short game myself, and many of we amateurs do.

But Tiger left out sooo much one can’t help but be distracted by the absence of any commentary about the President’s driving off the tee or his play from the fairways.

Is he long off the tee? Is he a complete disaster with some crazy left hook? What??! And what about his irons? Mid-irons can tell you a lot about one’s game? Both about their ball flight and tolerance for risk, never mind their course management skills.   Course management equals strategy equals possible insight into what he might do about Iran’s nuclear situation!

And what about the pace of play?  Does he time himself racing around the course like the former Presidents Bush, playing as if on deadline (which I could never understand…isn’t it kind of the point in playing golf to take your time and relax???), or did he play at a pace such that he might get threatened by Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem for hovering too long over his putts??

Nothing.

I suspect Tiger may be holding out more of the details because someday, after finishing the chase after Nicklaus’ record for the most majors, he is going to write a book about his experience playing golf with “Mr. President.”

I guess we’ll just have to hurry up and wait — kind of like the White House press corps.

Written by turbotodd

February 20, 2013 at 3:31 pm

Tiger’s New Roar

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Spoiler Alert: If you don’t want to get an update on The Farmers Insurance golf tournament at storied Torrey Pines in San Diego, stop reading NOW.

As of Monday afternoon, it looks as though professional golfer Tiger Woods is going to begin his golfing year with a big bang, currently at 15 under and five strokes ahead of last year’s victor, Brandt Snedeker.

I happened to be at Torrey Pines exactly six years ago this week, on a business trip, when Tiger also won (at that time the tournament was sponsored by Buick), and that also happens to be the first (and only) time I’d ever seen Tiger play live. 

This, of course, was well ahead of the 2008 U.S. Open, which Woods also won in a playoff against veteran player Rocco Mediate, and also a full year and a half ahead of Woods’s “personal” issues.

So what’s different this time around?  In 2007, Snedeker was a tour freshman, and Woods pretty much owned professional golf.

In the past six years, however, a lot has changed, including the fabric of the tour. Irish phenom Rory McIlroy since appeared on the scene, and he’s now the one in the Nike spotlight, having just signed a very lucrative deal (and also dealing with the transition to playing with Nike equipment).

Woods, on the other hand, was off in the wilderness, and only last year, after much coaching and a full swing overhaul, did he return even close to looking like the Tiger of old.

What’s old is new again, because these past several days in San Diego, the old Tiger has become the new Tiger, or the new Tiger the old…or something along those lines.

He’s pretty much owned the leaderboard, and despite a fogged out Saturday third round, his patience has been a virtue — not to mention his short game, which has been virtuoso — and never mind, his long drives straight up the middle, and his (typical) laser-lined iron shots.

After his U.S. Open victory in 2008, Tiger revealed he would miss the remainder of that season due to knee surgery, and for those of us who watched the showdown with Mediate, it was pretty clear Woods was in a lot of pain.

This year, Woods seems healthier than ever, his game seems remastered (pardon the pun), and if he keeps it together the last three holes, he will have won once again on the course he played so much of growing up.

Then, more importantly, he strolls into the rest of 2013 — including the first major of the season, The Masters, in April — looking as though he could be a real contender, in the majors, the tournaments he enters, and of course, the now-cherished FedEx Cup.

Despite his ups and downs in recent years, Tiger still demands attention, thankfully more now on the course than off.  You need only have watched the coverage these past few days of Woods to see the galleries looking bigger than ever, scaring the Tour freshmen but seeming to bolster Wood’s confidence in all his shotmaking.

Make no mistake, 2012 was a great year for golf, what with Bubba’s curved wedge shot to win out over Louis Oosthuizen in a playoff at Augusta, and McIlroy’s missing the cut at the Olympic Club, and probably most notably, the U.S.’ failure to win back the Ryder Cup. 

But Tiger taking Torrey by four or five strokes out of the gate in 2013, with Rory gazing on from off the side of the green, along with a host of new names we’ve never heard looking for a piece of the PGA action.

Well, let’s just say 2013 might be an even bigger year than 2012 for professional golf, and a bigger one than that for Tiger Woods. 

Written by turbotodd

January 28, 2013 at 10:34 pm

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