Phoenix Open to introduce VR experience for 16th hole

A view of the annual setting of the Waste Management Phoenix Open. (Submitted photo)

The PGA Tour and the Waste Management Phoenix Open announced Monday, Jan. 22 that fans can experience the 16th hole at TPC Scottsdale through a live 360 and virtual reality experience during all four rounds of competition at the upcoming Waste Management Phoenix Open.

The live VR experience can be viewed on Samsung Gear VR headsets on a global basis through the “PGA TOUR VR Live” app available on the Oculus store. The “PGA Tour VR Live” app will also launch on Daydream by Google — available on the Google Play Store — at the Waste Management Phoenix Open, a press release states.

This app will give fans an additional way to experience hole 16 at TPC Scottsdale. In addition to Daydream, fans can also view 360 content through Tour’s mobile app. The app will be compatible with a Google Cardboard.

For fans who don’t have a headset, the 360 video experience will be available on Twitter and Periscope during all four days of the event, and for the first time ever, via the PGA TOUR app on iOS, according to a press release.

Fans can find the coverage starting on February 1 at twitter.com/PGATOUR, by following @PGATOUR on Twitter and Periscope, or by downloading the official PGA TOUR app from the App Store.

“The 16th hole at TPC Scottsdale during the Waste Management Phoenix Open is one of the most exciting in golf,” Rick Anderson, PGA Tour chief media officer, said in a prepared statement.

“We look forward to bringing that excitement to our fans who can’t physically be at the tournament through live virtual reality. They will be able to experience all the thrills from home.”

As the exclusive live virtual reality provider of the PGA Tour, Intel will produce the live VR experience with Intel True VR technology, providing access to areas on the course that can’t be experienced — even by fans on-site.

Intel True VR uses panoramic, stereoscopic camera pods to create a more natural and realistic view from any direction for a more immersive VR environment.

Up to eight cameras will be placed around the 16th hole, in addition to a dedicated sideline reporter bringing a unique aspect to the experience. Teryn Schafer will be reporting live for the duration of the tournament.

“Intel True VR technology turn sports into amazing immersive experiences, and Intel is always working with our partners to deliver new ways for fans to get closer to the action,” David Aufhauser, managing director of Intel Sports Group, said in a prepared statement.

“We’re thrilled to work with the PGA TOUR to continue delivering compelling experiences with Intel True VR technology at the Waste Management Phoenix Open by leveraging our technology – from the cameras to the data processing to our application platform – to create interactive ways for fans to participate.”

The Players Championship in 2017 marked the first time Twitter distributed a live 360 VR experience during a major sports event. Following The Players, the PGA TOUR and Intel announced an exclusive relationship to produce and globally distribute live virtual reality and live 360 video at six PGA TOUR events in 2017 and 2018. The Tour Championship and Presidents Cup in 2017 also featured live VR coverage.

The collaboration between the PGA Tour and Twitter follows the live streaming relationship announced in 2016. Twitter’s early round distribution of PGA Tour Live coverage, viewable weekly at pgatourlive.twitter.com, has averaged almost half a million unique viewers each day and more than 70 percent of those are under the age of 35.

The Scottsdale Independent is published monthly and mailed to 75,000 homes and businesses in Scottsdale.

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