Golf viewers might have noticed something new and different watching the 40th The Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. The debut of mixed reality in the sport of golf.
In honor of the events 40th anniversary The Players Championship, PGA Tour, and NBC/Golf Channel embarked on a mission to celebrate this achievement. Together they enlisted the help of The Famous Company to develop golfs first use of mixed reality. At the TPC Sawgrass golf course iconic 17th hole “island green” a digital twin of the gold trophy and swinging man logo is bought to life.
As the gold man steps off the trophy platform users will see a digital animation of two legendary moments in The Players Championship history. The first highlight shown was Tiger Woods “Better than most” putt from his 2001 title with his first pump. The second highlight shown was Rickie Fowler’s 2015 tee shot from his playoff win. Both key moments in Players Championship history.
To make this work a prerecorded version of the animation is combined with the live shot to create the mixed reality broadcast. Animations are combined with the live shot with different cameras to display multple angles and show key details like the shadow of the trophy based on where the sun is pointing. This helps factor in weather conditions but does not affect the animations in any way. Whether it is sunny or cloudy with rain the animations will look the same throughout each scenario.
Sport fans or mixed reality enthusiasts may be familiar with The Famous Group and their work with mixed reality at sport events. They are trailblazers and have some notable projects in different sports leagues and their biggest event. A couple of them include NFL gameday experience, Nickelodeon Slimetime covering the NFL and broadcasting games, and most recently at the biggest sporting event the Super Bowl. They have also worked with the NBA for their all-star game and WWE to mention a few more.