After all these years of watching The Players Championship, you probably think that you’ve seen the 17th hole at TPC Sawgrass’ Players Stadium Course from every possible vantage point.
You thought wrong.
The PGA Tour will offer live virtual-reality coverage of the 17th holes during all four rounds of The Players May 11-14.
The live VR can be viewed on Samsung Gear VR headsets through the PGA Tour VR Live app on the Oculus store. Those headsets, typically sold at retail for less than $100, pair with Samsung phones to create the VR experience.
Fans who don’t have the headset can use Twitter or Periscope to access the 360-degree video on their smartphones. The coverage will be available during the tournament at @PGATOUR.
Three VR cameras will be placed on the 17th hole – one on the tee, another on the walkway from the tee box to the green and a third camera mounted on the water next to the island green. The Tour is using Intel True VR technology to produce the coverage.
“The PGA Tour has experimented with virtual-reality content for nearly two years,” said Rick Anderson, the Tour’s chief media officer. “We tested Intel’s True VR technology on a live basis at the Genesis Open in February, and were very pleased with the quality. We decided that executing a live VR experience on one of the most dramatic holes in golf was something that our fans would love, and the fact that we are partnering with Twitter to deliver 360 video will offer tremendous scale.”
According to the Tour, The Players will mark the first time that Twitter has distributed live 360 video during a major sports event. Twitter has been streaming PGA Tour Live’s early-round coverage this season. The Tour reported that the Twitter distribution averaged almost a half million unique viewers each day, and that more than 70 percent are under 35 years old.