RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK – If there was any doubt in your mind that the Internet is rapidly becoming a serious option for live video coverage, having The Masters embrace the Net should erase it.
Celebrating its 70th year, The Masters golf tournament is one of the most tradition-bound in sports. It’s so much wrapped in tradition, in fact, that over the years the host Augusta National Golf Club has sharply limited live television coverage.
Not this year.
The host Augusta club and CBS Sportsline said Wednesday that 22 hours of live coverage of the three holes that constitute “Amen Corner” will be offered over the course of the four-day men’s golf tournament April 6-9.
Radio coverage and video from practice tees will also be available online, according to ESPN.
“The importance and use of the Internet continues to grow and we think this is another service to our patrons,” Augusta National Golf Club Chairman Hootie Johnson said, according to ESPN. “The ability to see live action at Amen Corner is something very special.”
Amen Corner covers holes 11, 12 and 13.
Web viewers will see a dramatically different hole at No. 11. Bob Harig, writing at ESPN.com, noted that major changes have been made to Augusta National.
In addition to alternations at holes 4 and 7, Harig pointed out: “The other changes occurred at the 11th, 15th and 17th holes. In all cases, the tee was moved to make the hole longer and bring original landing areas back into play. The 11th is especially troublesome, as the par-4 plays to more than 500 yards and has had trees added down the right side of the fairway. That means a tougher tee shot, and a much more difficult second shot to a green guarded by water.”
CBS SportsLine, CBS Sports and the Augusta Golf Club are teaming up for the coverage that will be shown at two sites (www.masters.org and cbs.sportsline.com).
The partners have even named their own broadcast crew to cover the historic three holes that earned the nickname Amen Corner in 1958. Masters veteran golfers Mike Hulbert and Phil Blackmar will handle the coverage.
Live coverage will be available starting at 10:30 AM each day.
CBS, by the way, will be televising the Masters for the 51st consecutive year. And The Masters has embraced new technology before. It was the first golf event to be televised on high definition television, according to Broadcasting & Cable.
The Masters effort is the latest step forward in CBS’ full embrace of the Internet. It provided free online coverage of every game in “March Madness”, the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, generating millions of viewers.