Forecaddie: Fox taking Tracer, drones to new places at 2019 U.S. Open

pebble beach AP Photo/Terry Chea

Forecaddie: Fox taking Tracer, drones to new places at 2019 U.S. Open

USGA

Forecaddie: Fox taking Tracer, drones to new places at 2019 U.S. Open

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The Forecaddie is looking forward to seeing how Fox Sports approaches Pebble Beach, easily the most scenic venue in golf when the fog lifts. Yes, the last U.S. Open and subsequent AT&T Pro-Ams were broadcast in high-def, but The Man Out Front hears Fox plans to push the envelope again at the 2019 U.S. Open.

Nine holes will be equipped to show us a “standard ball-trace over live video, with enhanced club and ball data.” The remaining nine will have the now-industry standard (thanks to Fox) FlightTrack, with a live trace over a graphic of the golf hole.

The next leap in tracer technology will be seen at the 14th green where, instead of a camera remaining set in place and following the shot into the green, new innovations will allow for Toptracer to show the incoming shot’s trajectory while the camera is free to pan, tilt and zoom. Fox producer Mark Loomis and team are still tinkering with how to make it best for viewers, but The Forecaddie is easily swayed by any effort to advance the use of tracers — it’s what the kids want!

Even better, The Man Out Front is pretty sure players will actually try to reach the 14th in two shots this time around now that a controversial left-side chipping area at the 2010 U.S. Open has been replaced by rough.

As for images, Fox will have 50 HDR cameras across the course and in a blimp, but The Forecaddie is most excited to hear about the live tethered-aerial drone operated from a boat in Stillwater Cove. That’s a view we got selectively at Chambers Bay in 2015 that was stunning when it worked. Given how much has changed in four years and how rarely Pebble Beach golf tournaments have been seen from the sea lions’ perspective, this should be spectacular.

As for the long-rumored desire of CBS’ Jim Nantz (aka Mr. Pebble Beach) to check off a U.S. Open on his announcing bucket list, giving him the grand slam of broadcasting, The Forecaddie hears it couldn’t happen for a variety of reasons, including Nantz’s concern for taking away from the tournament at hand.

“Obviously, he has a great tie and love for Pebble Beach,” Loomis tells The Forecaddie. “But since he’s such a big part of another network as he said, ‘it just couldn’t happen’.”

Nantz, whose backyard features a replica of Pebble Beach’s 7th hole where Phil Mickelson made a hole-in-one Wednesday, will be a guest on Tuesday’s Vantage Point with Mike Tirico as part Golf Channel’s live on-site coverage.


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