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Home Daily Golf Briefs Daily Pulse for July 3, 2018


Web Street Golf Daily Pulse
VOLUME 8, NUMBER 130                                                       
Tuesday, July 3, 2018

In observance of the July 4th holiday, the Daily Pulse will not be published on Wednesday or Thursday. It will resume publishing on Friday, July 6th. A happy, safe 4th to everyone in the United States!

ANY IDEA WHO SAID THIS? “It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. You have hurtles you overcome and you’re better for it. I didn’t go there to make the cut. I knew I couldn’t make the cut. It was a life lesson of not only humility, but you realize once you’re in the moment, what you really, really don’t have. Playing casual golf is awesome. Standing over a golf ball in the U.S. Senior Open, you’re thinking ‘Oh my gosh!’ It was the coolest experience I’ve ever been a part of even though frustration was a part of it.”

BRAIN TEASER: David Toms won the U.S. Senior Open on Sunday. How many career victories did he have on the PGA TOUR?

ELEMENTARY MY DEAR WATSON: Artificial intelligence is all around us. Hey Siri! Hey Google! Now the PGA TOUR is getting involved. Following launches over the last three years in augmented reality and virtual reality, the TOUR has unveiled Artificial Intelligence (AI) platforms to enhance broadcast and digital storytelling. Among it’s primary areas of focus in AI are a Microsoft-developed Content Relevancy Engine (CRE), a video clipping tool and an automated story creator that utilize data captured by ShotLink.

Microsoft has collaborated with the TOUR to develop an application built on Microsoft’s Azure cloud that can sift through nearly 20 years of statistical data collected by the TOUR’s proprietary scoring system, ShotLink, as well as 80,000-plus hours of video in the TOUR’s digital library will provide real-time statistical trends and storylines relevant to the current action. The CRE provides contextual content for television broadcasts and digital properties to enhance fan comprehension of competitive situations as they occur.   

“The PGA TOUR strives to be a leader in sports innovation with a goal of reaching new fans globally,” said Steve Evans, SVP Information Systems of the PGA TOUR. “In the broadcast truck, decisions on what content airs on television are made in real-time as the story is unfolding in front of everyone. Having compelling and relevant content at our fingertips allows us to instantly provide the broadcast team with supporting information surrounding the action as it happens. Through Artificial Intelligence, we can build systems that continue to learn and develop on their own, allowing the TOUR’s platforms to evolve with the fan.”

As example of the use of CRE, in case this all seems a bit too blurry, occurred at the Memorial last month, Bryson DeChambeau was clinging to the lead in the final round when he missed the green on the par-5, 15th hole, leaving himself 57 feet from the hole. At this point, he was 15 of 19 in Scrambling to lead the field. DeChambeau pitched to within 5 feet of the hole, a distance from which he converted 46 of 50 times for the week. Low and behold, he made the putt to preserve his lead and went on to win his second PGA TOUR title in a playoff. Consider all of this as a statistical method of providing real time odds on whether a player will or won’t successfully execute a shot.

“The PGA TOUR has been passionate about finding patterns and presenting its massive amounts of content in a more structured way for broadcast producers so they can spend more time doing what they do best: telling amazing stories,” said Mike Downey, Principal Engineer, Microsoft. “Through the Content Relevancy Engine, we’ve helped the TOUR make content more accessible. Now instead of requesting manually created, custom data feeds from the TOUR, broadcasters can build their own. This solution will continue to learn patterns and get smarter over time.”  

Working with WSC Sports, the TOUR is using their AI driven smart video generation platform to analyze TOUR broadcast video along with data from ShotLink to generate content for all PGA TOUR digital platforms. Within minutes, the video generation platform creates a variety of highlights including a five-minute video package of a player’s round, a task that previously took hours to produce and post to digital platforms. The TOUR will continue to work with WSC to grow this service to provide a wide variety of video content including specific highlight packages of players from selected countries for distribution to partners around the world.

“Streamlining video generation workflows using WSC's advanced technology will help keep our fans engaged, enhance audiences' digital experience on any digital platform and expand the TOUR's global reach," said Scott Gutterman, VP Digital Operations at the PGA TOUR.

The TOUR leveraged Narrative Science’s NLG platform, Quill, to automatically write round recaps customized for every player in the field following every round of a tournament. Quill transforms the player’s most recent and pertinent performance stats into insightful recaps available on PGATOUR.COM or for fans using an Internet search engine.

“The automated story platform is in response to our fans and their desire to read about players who may not be at the top of the leaderboard,” said Gutterman. “With the help of Narrative Science’s platform, we now produce an AP Style formatted story for each player in the field following every round. The stories also help the TOUR build upon our search engine optimization across the Internet. We will continue to improve this tool by posting related video and photo assets from the TOUR’s vast digital library.”

WINNER’S CLUBS: Francesco Molinari his claimed first official PGA TOUR victory and did so in style. He lapped the field winning by 8 shots. He made only two bogeys over 72 holes to help punctuate his victory. “I've always said that the next stage of my career would have been to win over here, and to do it in this fashion, it's even better. I'm very proud the way I played, probably some of the best golf I've ever played and I'll ever play in the future. I think it's hard to play better than this,” said Molinari. “I came here obviously because I was right on the bubble in the FedExCup and I wanted to gain a better position, so I guess job done. Last year I missed the TOUR Championship I think by a single shot in Chicago and it wasn't nice. I'm in a better position now to try and get there this year and I think that's just going to be my goal going forward.”

Many times you win with the putter. However, last week Molinari proved that isn’t always the case. According to ShotLink, he hit the ball so well that he could have ranked 72nd (out of 74 players) in Strokes Gained: Putting and still won the event. That’s how impressive Molinari’s performance was. Here is what Francesco Molinari had in the bag to win the 2018 Quicken Loans National along with a comparison of the previous two-year winners.

Francesco Molinari / 2018 Quicken Loans National

Driver: TaylorMade M4, 8.5 degrees
Fairway: TaylorMade M3, 13 degrees, TaylorMade M4, 18 degrees
Irons: TaylorMade P-790 (4-iron), TaylorMade P-750 (5-PW)
Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (50 and 56 degrees), TaylorMade Hi-Toe (60 degrees)
Putter: Bettinardi DASS BBZero
Ball: Titleist Pro V1x

Francesco Molinari’s– Numbers for the week:
Eagles: 1
Birdies: 21
Pars: 48
Bogeys: 2
Double Bogeys: 0
Cumulative Score: 259

Kyle Stanley / 2017 Quicken Loans National

Driver: TaylorMade M1 2017 (10.5 degrees)
Fairway Woods: TaylorMade M2 2017 (15 degrees), Nike Covert VRS 2.0 (18 degrees)
Irons: TaylorMade PSi (4 iron), Nike Vapor Pro Combo (5-PW)
Wedges: Vokey Design SM6 gap (52 degrees) and sand (54 degrees), TaylorMade Tour Preferred EF (58 degrees)
Putter: Scotty Cameron prototype
Ball: New Pro V1

Kyle Stanley’s– Numbers for the week:
Eagles: 0
Birdies: 16
Pars: 48
Bogeys: 7
Double Bogeys: 1
Cumulative Score: 273

Billy Hurley III / 2016 Quicken Loans

Driver: TaylorMade M1 430 (9.5 degrees) with a Mitsubishi Tensei 60 shaft
Fairway Metal: TaylorMade M2, 15 degrees
Hybrids: TaylorMade SLDR (19, 21 degrees) and Adams Pro Mini (23 degrees)
Irons: Bridgestone J40 Forged (5-9) and Titleist Vokey SM6 PW with True Temper Dynamic Gold x100 shafts.
Wedges: Cleveland 588 RTX 2.0 Custom (54 degrees); Cleveland 588 Custom (60 degrees)
Putter: TaylorMade Itsy Bitsy Spider Limited
Golf Ball: Bridgestone Tour B330S

Billy Hurley III’s– Numbers for the week:
Eagles: 0
Birdies: 22
Pars: 45
Bogeys: 5
Double Bogeys: 0
Cumulative Score: 267


A DIFFERENT KIND OF NUMBERS GAME: The number that best defines John Daly’s career depends largely upon whom you ask. His many fans might offer “302” – Daly’s average driving distance in 1997, when he became the first man on the PGA Tour to break that now quaint 300-yard barrier. Or “5,” for his Tour wins, a meager tally given his enormous talent. Perhaps even “2,” for the major victories that place him in rarified company. For me, the telling number is “48.” That’s how many times Daly has withdrawn from PGA Tour-sanctioned events during his uneven career. Check that. It’s now “49” after his sulky exit from last week’s U.S. Senior Open. That figure omits the eight DQ’s he’s racked up, or his consistently dominating performance in the strokes gained half-hearted effort category. READ MORE>>>

ON THE PROWL: Tiger Woods is full of self-belief heading into The Open after his second top-four of the year and is also confident that the R&A will not make the same mistakes at Carnoustie as its counterparts at the US Open. READ MORE>>>

DONE AND DUSTED? The roars are as deafening as ever. They used to mean a lot more. Tiger Woods made his move at various points over the final three rounds on the TPC Potomac at Avenel Farm, each time making enough birdies to bring the Quicken Loans National to life with cheers and hope. Every golfer on the course knew where he was because they could hear. No one got rattled, perhaps because Woods never made enough birdies or enough of a move. READ MORE>>>

ANSWERS: “It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. You have hurtles you overcome and you’re better for it. I didn’t go there to make the cut. I knew I couldn’t make the cut. It was a life lesson of not only humility, but you realize once you’re in the moment, what you really, really don’t have. Playing casual golf is awesome. Standing over a golf ball in the U.S. Senior Open, you’re thinking ‘Oh my gosh!’ It was the coolest experience I’ve ever been a part of even though frustration was a part of it.”--MLB Hall of Fame member, John Smoltz speaking about his time at the U.S. Open.

David Toms won 13 times on the PGA TOUR. His first was at the 1997 Quad City Classic and his last was the 2011 Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial.