By Norm Elrod
(CBS New York/CBS Local) — At the upcoming PGA Tournament, the best field to play a major will be covered by the most advanced technology to enhance a golf tournament.
The 101st PGA Championship, the second major of the 2019 golf season, will tee off Thursday, May 16 from the Black Course at Bethpage State Park. The field, as of Friday, included all of the top 100 players in the Official World Golf Ranking — a first. Justin Thomas has since withdrawn with a lingering wrist injury. Still on that list are the PGA Tour’s top-ranked, including Dustin Johnson, Justin Rose and Brooks Koepka, not to mention recent Masters winner Tiger Woods.
CBS Sports enjoys a long-standing tradition of innovation through cutting-edge technology, and its upcoming coverage of the PGA Championship will continue along that path. From its breakthrough motion capture technology to Aerial Tracing, the viewer will be treated to an inside-the-ropes experience unlike any other. And that’s separate from the 200 cameras to be stationed throughout the course.
Here are some of the highlights:
Motion Capture, which debuted at the Masters, breaks down a golfer’s swing into its component parts. The 11th tee box at the PGA Championship will be outfitted with eight industrial camera systems to analyze hip and shoulder rotation, arm and knee contortion angles and golf club speed before and after contact.
CBS Sports Executive Producer and Senior Vice President, Production Harold Bryant described it as a great way “…to really break down a golfer’s swing, what they’re working on, how they can get better. You can compare different swing speeds from the top of their swings to when they actually hit the ball.”
Aerial Tracing combines Toptracer technology with a bird’s-eye view. Toptracer tracks tee shots through their entire trajectory, noting ball speed, distance and curve. Aerial Tracing adds this Toptracer technology to the view from the blimp. Viewers can now follow shots all the way from tee to green.
As CBS Sports Chairman Sean McManus acknowledged recently, “We’ve all seen the tracing that is done from the ground. It’s never been done live from a blimp. That’s going to add an entirely new perspective to our coverage of the golf tournament.”
4D Replay, originally seen at last year’s PGA Championship at Bellerive, returns to Bethpage Black with twice as many cameras. Replays will use a matrix-type view to show a 180-degree perspective of swings in the tee box at the all-important 15th hole.
CBS Sports is set to roll out these and other innovations for this weekend’s PGA Championship action. “Each course that we go to is a different challenge and provides a different opportunity to try some of the new enhancements in technology,” according to Bryant. “It’s a big stage, and we love to try all this new technology on the biggest stage possible.”