Forecaddie: PGA of America is giving manual scoreboards the year off

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Forecaddie: PGA of America is giving manual scoreboards the year off

Forecaddie

Forecaddie: PGA of America is giving manual scoreboards the year off

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FARMINGDALE, N.Y. – It’s not the trademarked and one-of-a-kind Masters scoreboard, but there is still something charming about the PGA of America traditionally erecting a huge, volunteer-helmed “monster board” at the PGA Championship.

For the organization’s first PGA Championship at Bethpage, a scoreboard is located in the same spot as the massive boards placed there by the USGA in 2002 and 2009, but it’s a very large (and bright) video screen.

“We’re trying to adapt,” said the PGA of America’s Kerry Haigh. “There is something to be said for the manual board, we haven’t given up on those, we like those.”

Instead, Haigh tells The Man Out Front that the PGA of America used the lack of space around 18 to test what a video-only setup looks like to fans.

“We are using new technology to help spectators appreciate what is going on or to see some actual golf,” he said of possible live broadcast footage airing before players arrive at the greens. “It’s a great benefit to spectators who are paying to come in and enjoy the experience.”

Tiger Woods walks reads the line of his putt on the 18th green during the third round of the U.S. Open Golf Championship at the Black Course of Bethpage State Park in Farmingdale, N.Y., Saturday, June 15, 2002. Woods parred the hole finishing his round at even par and 5-under-par for the tournament.

Tiger Woods walks reads the line of his putt on the 18th green during the third round of the U.S. Open Golf Championship at the Black Course of Bethpage State Park in Farmingdale, N.Y., Saturday, June 15, 2002. Woods parred the hole finishing his round at even par and 5-under-par for the tournament.

In 2015 the USGA was the first to break from this major championship tradition at Chambers Bay. An electronic 18th hole video screen largely failed due to basic function issues (it didn’t work well, made trying to track scoring quite difficult and let off a loud humming noise). Since then, the USGA has been back to the manually operated boards throughout its U.S. Open venues, retaining a certain vintage flair in 18th green photos.

The Forecaddie certainly enjoys the benefits of such scoreboards but does wonder how players will deal with the busy and bright screen so clearly visible in their lines. There is also the loss of a possible iconic photo showing the winner with the story of his victory plainly visible in manually-placed numbers.

But times change and it sounds like the PGA of America may be going with the technologically superior but decidedly less-traditional 18th hole presentation. At least at Bethpage Black in 2019.

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