Noisy PGA Tour Leaderboards Thing of the Past

By Associated PressFebruary 22, 2005, 5:00 pm
PGA Tour (75x100)Charles Howell III had a lot to learn when he first came out on the PGA Tour.
He didn't know many of the courses. He wasn't sure where to stay. And inside the ropes, he had to adjust to this strange sound he never heard on any other golf circuit.
'People talk about how they don't pay attention to leaderboards? They're lying,' Howell once said. 'Because when these leaderboards turn over out here, it sounds like machine gun fire. If you have a leaderboard right beside you, you're ducking your first year on tour, because you have no idea what that noise is.'
Anyone who has ever been to a PGA Tour event knows exactly what Howell is talking about.
While the tour is equipped with satellite technology and lasers to chart every shot of every player, it keeps score on the golf course with electronic leaderboards that are about as up-to-date as Pac-Man.
'When you're hitting a shot, you hear that rat-tat-tat,' Mark Lye said. 'Those things have always been the worst.'
They might be a thing of the past - finally.
First introduced on the PGA Tour at the 1988 Westchester Classic, the tour plans to replace the leaderboards with state-of-the-art equipment that not only will tell who is leading, but show how far someone hits his drive or the distance his ball lands from the pin.
And players will only be able to see them, not hear them.
'Think of it more as a computer monitor than what you're seeing out there today,' said Steve Evans, vice president of information systems for the PGA Tour.
What the tour has now is a large board, powered by a golf cart battery. The board has 5,130 cubes that are black and fluorescent yellow, and those cubes flip over to spell out names and scores and what hole a player is on.
The board changes every 10 seconds or so.
'It's not a normal sound,' said Lye, who battled the boards as much as any player on tour. 'I would unplug them and shut down the whole system. They told me they were going to fine me if I kept doing it, so I had to stop. But it got to where I had to time when it was going to change so it didn't get me in the middle of my stroke.'
When he joined the Champions Tour, that annoying, teeth-gritting sound was there to greet him.
'We can talk from here to China on a cell phone,' said Lye, who works as an analyst for The Golf Channel. 'We ought to be able to get a scoreboard that's not so loud.'
Noise isn't the only problem.
Depending on the radio frequency, the scoreboards could be as many as 30 minutes behind. That could make a big difference to a player wondering if he needs to go for the green on a par 5 late in the tournament.
And just like any piece of machinery, it can malfunction. There are times when not all the cubes will switch to yellow, making the scores look like something they're not.
Bob Estes was tied for the lead with Jeff Maggert in the 1995 Western Open, both of them at 8-under par. But Estes says a couple of yellow cubes didn't flip over on Maggert's score, and a quick glance made it look like Maggert was 9 under.
'I should have known what a 9 normally looks like on a scoreboard,' Estes said. 'But the pixel lights were out. I thought I was tied for the lead and I had to play a little more aggressively, maybe get a birdie on the last three holes.'
He went at the pin, bounced left off the green and into a hazard to take double bogey.
'They really are annoying,' Estes said.
Henry Hughes, chief of operations for the PGA Tour, said plans to update the electronic scoreboard were shelved temporarily when money was devoted to the Shotlink scoring system.
He said the tour likely would start testing new boards over the next two years, and his hope is that new boards will be available for the 2007 season. The idea is to link the leaderboard in part with Shotlink, ultimately giving fans all the information available to them on the Internet.
'The goal is to develop the best fan enhancement,' Hughes said.
There already has been some evidence, however so slight. At the Tour Championship last year, a mammoth screen erected down the 17th fairway showed clear, still images of the two players walking toward the green, their score and what place they were in.
Even the noisy boards now are capable of showing which player has hit the longest drive at a hole, or which was closest to the pin on a par 3.
Still, the tour has been slow to replace such outdated equipment.
'The budget was one factor, but the other thing was that technology was moving so fast, you didn't want to buy something one year and have it be outdated the next year,' said Don Wallace, director of tournament operations. 'And for what we do - in terms of transporting them to tournaments - this technology was good. It lasted almost 20 years.'
No matter the age or how loud the boards can be, the PGA Tour at least gives fans up-to-date information.
The tour now has to be careful not to deliver too much information.
Evans said a new leaderboard would be capable of delivering the same information as Shotlink, along with video clips of someone making a key birdie. But the PGA Tour doesn't want a course like Riviera to turn into a movie theater, either.
'It will have a much more higher resolution display, much more like boards you'd see in the stadium,' Evans said. 'It will be capable of showing full graphics, player images, head shots. We're probably going to have some be video capable, but I don't think video is appropriate at every single location.'
The last thing someone needs is to be standing over a 6-foot par putt and hear the crowd erupt in cheers because it watched highlights of Phil Mickelson chipping in for birdie. Still, modern boards will be capable of letting fans know what's going on with more names, more glitz, more information.
'And it will be real quiet,' Wallace said.
Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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Tiger Tracker: 147th Open Championship

By Tiger TrackerJuly 20, 2018, 10:15 am

Following an even-par 71 in the first round of the 147th Open Championship, Tiger Woods looks to make a move on Day 2 at Carnoustie.

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McIlroy responds to Harmon's 'robot' criticism

By Mercer BaggsJuly 20, 2018, 6:53 am

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Rory McIlroy said during his pre-championship news conference that he wanted to play more "carefree" – citing Jon Rahm’s approach now and the way McIlroy played in his younger days.

McIlroy got off to a good start Thursday at Carnoustie, shooting 2-under 69, good for a share of eighth place.

But while McIlroy admits to wanting to be a little less structured on the course, he took offense to comments made by swing coach Butch Harmon during a Sky Sports telecast.

Said Harmon:

“Rory had this spell when he wasn’t putting good and hitting the ball good, and he got so wrapped up in how he was going to do it he forgot how to do it.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

“He is one of the best players the game has ever seen. If he would just go back to being a kid and playing the way he won these championships and play your game, don’t have any fear or robotic thoughts. Just play golf. Just go do it.

“This is a young kid who’s still one of the best players in the world. He needs to understand that. Forget about your brand and your endorsement contracts. Forget about all that. Just go back to having fun playing golf. I still think he is one of the best in the world and can be No.1 again if he just lets himself do it.”

McIlroy, who has never worked with Harmon, responded to the comments when asked about them following his opening round.

“Look, I like Butch. Definitely, I would say I'm on the opposite end of the spectrum than someone that's mechanical and someone that's – you know, it's easy to make comments when you don't know what's happening,” McIlroy said. “I haven't spoken to Butch in a long time. He doesn't know what I'm working on in my swing. He doesn't know what's in my head. So it's easy to make comments and easy to speculate. But unless you actually know what's happening, I just really don't take any notice of it.”

McIlroy second round at The Open began at 2:52 a.m. ET.

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How The Open cut line is determined

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 20, 2018, 5:57 am

Scores on Day 1 of the 147th Open Championship ranged from 5-under 66 to 11-over 82.

The field of 156 players will be cut nearly in half for weekend play at Carnoustie. Here’s how the cut line works in the season’s third major championship:

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

• After 36 holes, the low 70 players and ties will advance to compete in the final two rounds. Anyone finishing worse than that will get the boot. Only those making the cut earn official money from the $10.5 million purse.

• There is no 10-shot rule. That rule means anyone within 10 shots of the lead after two rounds, regardless of where they stand in the championship, make the cut. It’s just a flat top 70 finishers and ties.

• There is only a single cut at The Open. PGA Tour events employ an MDF (Made cut Did not Finish) rule, which narrows the field after the third round if more than 78 players make the cut. That is not used at this major.

The projected cut line after the first round this week was 1 over par, which included 71 players tied for 50th or better.

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How to watch The Open on TV and online

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 20, 2018, 5:30 am

You want to watch the 147th Open? Here’s how you can do it.

Golf Channel and NBC Sports will be televising 182 hours of overall programming from the men's third major of the year at Carnoustie

In addition to the traditional coverage, the two networks will showcase three live alternate feeds: marquee groups, featured holes (our new 3-hole channel) and spotlight action. You can also watch replays of full-day coverage, Thursday-Sunday, in the Golf Channel app, NBC Sports apps, and on  

Here’s the weekly TV schedule, with live stream links in parentheses. You can view all the action on the Golf Channel mobile, as well. Alternate coverage is noted in italics:

(All times Eastern; GC=Golf Channel; NBC=NBC Sports; or check the GLE app)

Monday, July 16

GC: 7-9AM: Morning Drive (

GC: 9-11AM: Live From The Open (

GC: 7-9PM: Live From The Open (

Tuesday, July 17

GC: 6AM-2PM: Live From The Open (

Wednesday, July 18

GC: 6AM-2PM: Live From The Open (

Thursday, July 19

GC: Midnight-1:30AM: Midnight Drive (

GC: Day 1: The Open, live coverage: 1:30AM-4PM ( Day 1: The Open, Spotlight: 1:30AM-4PM ( Day 1: The Open, Marquee Groups: 4AM-3PM ( Day 1: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 4AM-3PM (

GC: Live From The Open: 4-5PM (

Friday, July 20

GC: Day 2: The Open, live coverage: 1:30AM-4PM ( Day 2: The Open, Spotlight: 1:30AM-4PM ( Day 2: The Open, Marquee Groups: 4AM-3PM ( Day 2: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 4AM-3PM (

GC: Live From The Open: 4-5PM (

Saturday, July 21

GC: Day 3: The Open, live coverage: 4:30-7AM (

NBC: Rd. 3: The Open, live coverage: 7AM-3PM ( Day 3: The Open, Spotlight: 4:30AM-3PM ( Day 3: The Open, Marquee Groups: 5AM-3PM ( Day 3: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 5AM-3PM (

GC: Live From The Open: 3-4PM (

Sunday, July 22

GC: Day 4: The Open, live coverage: 4:30-7AM (

NBC: Rd. 4: The Open, live coverage: 7AM-2:30PM ( Day 4: The Open, Spotlight: 4:30AM-2:30PM ( Day 4: The Open, Marquee Groups: 5AM-2PM ( Day 4: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 5AM-2PM (

GC: Live From The Open: 2:30-4PM (