This piece of technology will make U.S. Women’s Open first of its kind
PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. — The 78th U.S. Women’s Open is set to be a historic championship.
For the first time in the history of the women’s game, the USGA is bringing its flagship event to Pebble Beach Golf Links. There are few courses as well-known as Pebble Beach in the United States, so contesting the U.S. Women’s Open on this stage holds massive significance.
“I think this is a dream-changer,” said USGA CEO Mike Whan. “I think this really matters to the people playing, but the real impact of this is the girls that are thinking about playing or aren’t really sure what they think about golf.”
But just playing at Pebble Beach won’t be the only thing that makes this week a historic one. The USGA will also use ShotLink technology throughout the course, allowing for live shot tracking throughout the championship. This marks the first time ShotLink data will be utilized at a women’s professional event.
“I think it’s really big for the women’s game,” said USGA Chief Commercial Officer Jon Podany. “We’ve never been able to offer that before, nor has anybody before. So to be able to offer that depth of statistics is gonna be really cool.”
The shot-tracking system, called USGA ShotCast powered by Cisco, will utilize the PGA Tour’s ShotLink system, which is used each week on the men’s professional circuit. USGA ShotCast was previously featured at the 123rd U.S. Open, hosted at Los Angeles Country Club last month.
“When we first started talking about using ShotLink for the U.S. Open, we felt that we needed to make the commitment to also do it for the women,” Podany said. “Fortunately [the PGA Tour] was willing to work with us to figure out a solution so we were able to do that.”
Fans will be able to access USGA ShotCast online and via the USGA app, which will feature radar data, shot trails, green views and video highlights for each player in the field. It will also feature 3D imagery of each hole.
Additionally, ShotCast will archive every televised shot, allowing fans to catch up on all the action they miss throughout the championship.
This data is available weekly on the PGA Tour, but such advanced stats are not typically available in the women’s game. Rudimentary strokes-gained data is available on the LPGA Tour through KPMG Performance Insights, but with caddies logging the data by hand, it is far from a perfect science. This also means there is no ability to track players around the course in real-time.
That all changes at this week’s U.S. Women’s Open.