The Players Championship Triggers Vision For Future

By R.J. Smiley






The Psychic sat on the edge of his recliner locked in the drama of The Players Championship. Four players, three with Major trophies and the other with an Olympic gold medal. The media coverage was as good as the golf.

The Psychic was living in Wyndham Clark’s shoes as the final putt toilet-seated 300°, leaving Scotty Scheffler, Worlds #1, King of the Stadium Course for the second year in a row.

The Psychic re-ran the slow-motion video of the ball spinning out of the hole several times. That bit of exceptional camera coverage stamped an exclamation mark on this truly great golf tournament.

With a deep exhale, the Psychic wiped the moisture from his Arnold Palmer, with a touch of Ketel One, and took a long pull. As the cool delicious adult beverage slid across his taste buds and down his dry throat, he realized just how outstanding the television coverage had been. The camera angles and slow motion closeups were amazing. The Psychic recalls the hand and wrist action of Zander Schauffele’s lob wedge from the rough for a gimme par. In addition to the camera work, the director of programming filled the screen with the answer to questions before the Psychic could form a question in his mind. What is the wind speed and direction on the 17th tee vs the speed and direction on the green? What are the odds of making this putt? How much will this putt break? On and on.

The Psychic remembers the early days of color TV and of  PGA TOUR golf. Arnold Palmer was the lead horse in the parade that made “new color telecast” of the Masters a must watch event. Palmer’s appeal made women viewers blush as they watched while their husbands marveled at his passion and charisma. The vivid television images of Augusta National, in full bloom, tattooed every hole of Augusta National onto the brains for golf fans.

The Psychic realizes that rapid improvement in technology has made creating, once unthinkable, videos a child’s toy. As AI and technology improve a meteoric pace, network golf coverage is running to keep up. Millennials and the computer generations that followed expect to witness the unbelievable. The problem facing golf entertainment producers is the physical size of a golf course venue and the number of players all playing his own ball at the same time. Venue size and number of players create very expensive logistic problems.

As interest in golf accelerates around the globe, where will the daily growth of AI/camera/technology take live media coverage in today’s connected world?

As the Psychic ponders these questions. He walks into the solitude of his study and uncovers the see-all crystal ball centered in his old ark table.

With the aged turban on his balding skull, a date 2035 appears from within the glowing sphere. The images from within exposes a beautiful golf venue with the magnolias in full bloom. The Masters, from the inception has been in a class of its own, truly a “world golf” championship featuring the very best players from an international field. With no affiliation with a professional golf organization, controlled by employees and/or elected leaders, The Masters continues to be the leader in innovation.

The scene fades to the 13th hole (if you do not know this hole you should not be reading this story). Charlie Woods has finally qualified for the Masters winning a qualifying tournament on the second-tier tour. His lone victory is not one of the 20 worldwide championships, a result of the 2026 merger of LIV, PGA and WP Tours, but a professional victory none the less. As Charlie steps off a robotic hover craft, the Psychic notices he does not present the physical presence of his Greek God-like father. But the son of a golf legend has learned to command respect with his all-business attitude. Never one to waste a moment in the limelight, young Woods has developed the aura of a champion. 

The robotic car/computer, equipped with AI, hovers silently above the fairway of this fabled hole. As Woods studies his lie, AI directs his caddy where to place the streaming “pole camera” that accompanies each golfer. The scene from within the crystal switches to NFL where the pylon camera has been used for years. Now the Psychic can fully comprehend. The pole camera is a telescoping pole with a spiked end, that secures the pole to the turf, equipped with a 360° camera. When activated, the pole camera streams live video continuously to the control center at national headquarters. The pole camera, used by each golfer in professional golf events has replaced the 120 cameras transported and manned by today’s media companies.

The control center transmits a 360° signal allowing each worldwide viewer to personalize his viewing experience, watching what interests them most. The Psychic see’s video of golfers selecting clubs with the information from the AI robot. Club selection depends on wind and humidity, grass length and grain direction, firmness of green where flagstick is located and adrenaline and heart rate of golfer.

Other fans are more concerned with the patrons who frequent the Masters. How they are dressed, hat selection, even brand of sunscreen. The more fans express their viewing desires the better the control center can direct the placement of the pole camera to fulfill their desires.

On the green, the AI controlled hovers craft moves quickly over the putting surface to precisely read Wood’s putts. With three pole cameras in the group the overlap of coverage creates endless viewer controlled entertainment experiences.

The Psychic places his hands over the warm crystal and turns away. He has seen enough for this day. From shepherds on the seashore to AI reading putts, the golfer still has to knock his ball into the hole. The game has not changed!

The Psychic got some of these ideas from reading a Golf Week story by Garry Smith, Florida Times Union: