PGA.com’s 360 Cam Debuts, Offers Fans Unique View
Fans searching for even an even deeper look at this weekend’s 93rd PGA Championship at Atlanta Athletic Club need look no further than their Internet browser.
For the first time during the PGA Championship, viewers will be able to access a 360-degree camera that provides a panoramic look and natural sound of the course.
“We’re not using the 360 camera to cover the action like you would a broadcast or a live marquee group,” says Gary Treater, senior director of business operations, PGA.com. “We’re using it more to give the fans a behind the scenes look at the golf course and the action.”
The video player will be completely interactive as users can drag the camera right, left, or up and down in a 360-degree circle to see action from various vantage points.
“Our plan is to move it around throughout the day to give people a chance to experience different parts of the event with the camera at different times of the day,” says Treator.
The camera will open the day at the practice range and putting greens as the opening groups prepare to tee off. From there, PGA.com will move the camera to a designated perch atop the Athletic Club that will offer viewers the opportunity to pan between the first and tenth holes while also picking up a view of the 18th green and crowds. Treator noted that additional camera positions could be utilized depending on the day’s events, including vantage points at signature holes such as 15 and 17.
The 360 cam is just the latest addition to PGA.com’s coverage of the final major of the season in the site’s sixth year producing internet coverage separate from the TV broadcast.
PGA Championship LIVE, PGA.com’s video player, will be following marquee groups throughout the day with access to all TNT and CBS broadcast cameras while deploying three of their own dedicated cams – two focused on following the groups with the third positioned in the media center.
This year’s first PGA.com marquee group – Tiger Woods, Davis Love III, and Padraig Harrington – will be featured teeing off on Thursday morning at 8:35 a.m. ET and Friday afternoon at 1:45 p.m. ET. Reigning major champs Rory McIlroy (US Open), Darren Clarke (British Open), and Charl Schwartzel (Masters) will be the other threesome highlighted during Rounds 1 & 2 as they tee off at 1:45 p.m. ET on Thursday and 8:45 a.m. ET on Friday. Marquee pairing for Rounds 3 & 4 will be determined following Friday’s action.
Will Haskett (play by play), Michael Breed (analyst), Brian Katrek, and Craig Sager (reporting) will provide commentary and analysis throughout the weekend during PGA.com’s live coverage.
Other features for Internet viewers include the “Video Highlight Hub” and “Live Insider.” In the expanded and enhanced Video Highlight Hub, fans can customize their video experience, search and browse by Player, Round, Hole, or Memorable Moment to create an on-demand album from the 2011 PGA Championship. Through Live Insider updates, PGA.com writers will be able to update fans and answer questions about the action on and around the course.
After having success with it over the previous years, PGA.com will also ramp up its social media outreach over the weekend. Fans can follow tweets from PGA professionals and #PGAChamp chatter, ask questions through the Live Insider. PGA is also teaming up with TNT to provide live fan chats with Ernie Johnson, Jim Huber, Ian Baker-Finch, and Billy Kratzert.
Says Treator, “It allows us to engage with the fans and go in a different direction based off the chatter that we’re hearing.”