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

Posts Tagged ‘us open

The Olympic Hurt

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If you watched any of the first day’s play of the 2012 U.S. Open Championship, you know that the Olympic Club Lake Course has not been kind to the world’s best golfers.

And that’s just the way I like it.

From Tiger Woods to world #1 Luke Donald to last year’s U.S. Open champion, Rory McIlroy, virtually every player is struggling with the razor trimmed greens and tight fairways at Olympic.

It’s always fun to watch the seasoned pros get humbled on a golf course: Landing the ball, holding the ball, putting the ball…stopping the ball.

In fact, Olympic played at over 700 over par yesterday, 400 something in just the first 6 holes, which all the pundits had warned about.

Currently, Michael Thompson leads the field at four under, and Tiger Wood is tied for second at one under.  But there’s still plenty of golf to be played.

Who I’m keeping my eye on for day two: Tiger, no question.  But also former U.S. Open champions GraemeMcDowell, currently at two under for the tournament after 9 holes today, and Jim Furyk, who’s even after 7.

David Toms is also tied at −1, and yesterday’s Jason Bohn is still settled in at even.

I’ll also be keeping an eye on Hunter Mahan (+1 for the tournament, −1 for the day), and Ian Poulter (+1).

Angel Cabrera is only +3, as is Ernie Els and Matt Kuchar, so there’s lots of opportunity left to climb their way back and make the weekend.

As for Tiger Woods’ play yesterday, you could tell he was back in the zone.  He played the course, not the other players, and played some gorgeous iron approaches that demonstrated not only his technical prowess, but his savvy at how the greens were accepting (or not) approach shots.

If he plays like that again today, Woods could easily be leading into the weekend.

Regardless, it’s going to be fun to watch.

If you’re an avid fan, be sure to check out some of the useful features of the U.S. Open Web site for “golf’s toughest test.”  The live video is carrying coverage today of the Jim Furyk, Sergio Garcia, and Graeme McDowell threesome, and the “PlayerTracker” allows you to follow and review the play of individual players or groups by hole.  I’m just learning my way around that particular course, but thus far, it’s extremely cool.

Finally, don’t forget to keep your eye on the amateur players.  California’s 17-year-old Beau Hossler is even for the tournament, and Arizona’s Alberto Sanchez is only four over for the tournament.

It’s going to be one heck of a weekend of championship golf.

Written by turbotodd

June 15, 2012 at 5:14 pm


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Okay, golf fans, if you watched the Tournament Players Championship this weekend, you know you hardly have reason to complain.

All around nice guy and professional golfer, Matt Kuchar, follows a shot during his victory at this weekend’s Tournament Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass in Ponta Vedra Beach, Florida.

Other than Kevin Na’s “yips,” which seemed to bother co-playing partner Zach Johnson during Saturday’s third round more than it did anyone else, weren’t quite enough to keep Na from leading as they walked into the final round yesterday.

But it was Matt Kuchar (everyone on the course just yells at him, “Kooch!”) who walked away with his biggest ever title on Mother’s Day, a sweet birdie putt on the 16th at Sawgrass all but cementing his victory.

Scotland’s Martin Laird and the ever fashionable Ricky Fowler, who finally won his own first PGA Tour victory just last week at the Wells Fargo Championship, were hot on Kuchar’s heels, but they’d fallen too far away by the time they reached 16, 17, and 18, the winding hat trick of a finish at Sawgrass that includes the infamous 17 “island” green.

Zach Johnson had been on a bit of a tear of his own, starting the round at 7 under and only four behind Kuchar, eagling the par-5 second and getting to 11 under with a birdie on the par-5 16th — no Master’s par 5 layups for Johnson at Sawgrass!

But Kuchar refused to fall back to the pack.

In terms of drama, there was plenty of it, but most of that drama came from other players.

As Kuchar approached 17, the victory clearly in view, I could only pray, “Kooch, don’t slop another one in the water!” which so many others had done during the week. But no, he put it safely in the middle of the island green and two-putted for his par.

On 18, he hit a nice solid drive in the middle of the fairway (remembering there’s water all along the left side of the hole) and talked sports with his caddie as they walked up towards the green.

No biggie, Kooch seemed to be saying, but it was a biggie indeed, and elevates the well-liked Kuchar into a whole new class of the game.

Which is perfect, because it’s just in time for the coming U.S. Open at the Olympic Club in San Francisco.  If there’s not been enough drama for you this year on the PGA Tour, I hope and expect June 14-17 at the Olympic Club to be about as much drama as a golf fan can stand.

More on that in future posts…but for now, let’s celebrate Matt Kuchar’s well-deserved and long overdue “big win” — the 33 year-old “kid’s” been at since he won the U.S. Amateur in 1998, and finally he can say he belongs in the big leagues.

And it couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy!

Written by turbotodd

May 14, 2012 at 3:24 pm

Even Giants Stumble

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I watched most all the men’s semi-finals at the U.S. Open on Saturday, and I have a feeling that the match between five-time Open champion Roger Federer and Serbian Novak Djokovic will go down as one for the record books.

When I first moved to New York City at the ripe old age of 18, I went to see an afternoon of tennis live in Flushing Meadows, and that year the men’s final included Ivan Lendl and John McEnroe.  McEnroe took the championship 6-3 6-4 6-1.

I watched that year’s final on a small TV in my basement apartment in Woodside, Queens.

This year I was able to catch the semis in HD on a 55″ Sony Bravia, and of course, also follow the action throughout the tournament on the IBM-sponsored U.S. Open Web site.

I definitely prefer the HD big screen.

But I really had no inkling that Roger Federer was going to do anything but walk away the winner yesterday.  After Rafael Nadal made short work of Mikhail Youzhny 6-2, 6-3, 6-4, I, too, was looking forward to (finally!) a Federer/Nadal U.S. Open final.

But it wasn’t to be.

Without question, the turning point in the match came 4-3 in the fifth set, and Federer had Djokovic down 15-40. But Djokovic refused to go down without a fight, and point after point he answered Federer’s screaming serves and avoided falling even further behind.

From there on in, it was a nailbiter, and though we didn’t get our Federer/Nadal final, I’m looking forward to the men’s finals even more considering it’s Nadal’s first time in the final match (Djokovic lost to Federer in the final in 2007, 7–6(4), 7–6(2), 6–4).

Alas, the rain kept the match from occurring during its scheduled 4 PM E.S.T. start this (Sunday) afternoon, so tune in tomorrow (or set your DVR) for 4 PM.  It should be a good one.  I’m sure Djokovic was thankful for the extra day’s recovery time.

Finally, congrats also go out to Kim Clijsters for winning her second women’s U.S. Open in a row, who defeated Vera Zvonareva 6-2, 6-1 last night.

Written by turbotodd

September 13, 2010 at 12:27 am

Visualizing the U.S. Open

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If it’s late August, it’s time for some serious tennis.

Yes, it’s already that time again.  The U.S. Open tennis tournament kicks off this evening out at Flushing Meadows in Queens, NY.

What do you need to know about the tournament this year, particularly if you wish to follow the action closely, if remotely?

For over 19 years, IBM has worked with the U.S. Open to bring a better tournament to millions of tennis fans worldwide.

One of the best examples of this partnership is USOpen.org.

Built and hosted by IBM, the official tournament site offers real-time scores direct from the court for every single match.

You can also find updated statistics and video highlights of the day’s action, talk with other fans, and follow the U.S. Open Twitter feed.

During the 2009 U.S. Open, the site attracted over 13.5 million fans.

You can also download the U.S. Open iPhone app.

Download the U.S. Open iPhone mobile app to follow this year's U.S Open tennis action from wherever you might be.

The U.S. Open mobile app features:
  • LIVE Scores and completed match results during the Open.
  • Latest News updates from on and off the court throughout the tournament.
  • “Around Me” Find the nearest live matches, concessions, or the next train home with this augmented reality feature, Presented by IBM
  • USOpen.org Radio – American Express special feature – LIVE streaming radio and play-by-play Open coverage featuring Ask the Booth—a live, interactive Q&A with match commentators.
  • On Demand Video, Around the Grounds and American Express insider player profiles and more.
  • Tweets from the US Open official Twitter coverage, as well as featured players.
  • Visiting the Open featuring maps of the grounds, onsite American Express Cardmember benefits and other great spectator info.

Visualizing the Point

But if you’ve ever sat out at Flushing Meadows and watched any of the world class tennis that’s played there, you know there’s actually a whole lot of data being generated there: Every serve, every volley, every point, every match is filled with a voluminous amount of data — the challenge is keeping up with it all.

This year, IBM has partnered with the U.S. Tennis Association to try in the form of its PointStream solution, which will pull intelligence from the huge amounts of data around scores and match statistics, then demonstrate that information in real-time.

U.S. Open PointStream, powered by IBM, will help tennis fans better follow the action online through real-time data visualization of key statistics, including service speeds, rally counts, double faults, break points...all the key metrics in tennis.

PointStream will show aces, serve speeds, winners, and all other key data of a match visualized in real-time, allowing online fans to get that much closer to the action to matches in progress.

Closer, but not too close.

Written by turbotodd

August 30, 2010 at 1:06 pm

IBM @ Pebble Beach

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I’ve been a little lost between all the World Cup games and the NBA Finals (Game 7 tonight!), but I would be remiss in my golf fandom not to mention that the U.S. Open kicks off at Pebble Beach today out in California.

IBM has been a longtime partner with the U.S.G.A. and the U.S. Open, and this year the partnership continues in the digital realm with some exciting new social media capabilities.

Of course, the home course is the official U.S. Open Website, which is designed and hosted by IBM.  This year, IBM players will be helping to integrate a Mixx Channel into the U.S. Open home page.


The 2010 U.S. Open Website, built and hosted by IBM on behalf of the U.S.G.A.

This will help bring fans (I’m very jealous of all you fans onsite!) attending the tournament into the coverage.  Fans who visit the “Experience Tent” at Pebble Beach will be able to provide their own real-time commentary on their Twitter accounts, and the chatter will also appear live on the U.S. Open Mixx channel.

Of course, we won’t forget our basic blocking and tackling….err, chipping and putting.

There will also be some improvements to the traditional golf leaderboard, including an overview map to enable viewers to ge a birds’-eye view of action on the course. 

For the non color-blind, there will also be a heat-mapping feature with green, red, and gray indicators to let fans know how hard each part of the course is plahing, with colors differing based on turned in score averages per hole.


The U.S.G.A. U.S. Open Interactive Play Tracker gives avid golf fans a nice bird’s-eye overview of who’s hot and who’s not at this year’s U.S. Open.

The Website will also feature some HD Live Streaming (including to the iPhone and other mobile browsers), and a U.S. Open Facebook fan page will also share the news.

To all mi amigos from the IBM team onsite at Pebble Beach, be sure to give me a shout out if you all need any help out there!


Written by turbotodd

June 17, 2010 at 4:20 pm

Posted in sports

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