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High Tech Help on the PGA Tour

Boot Camp feature for Thursday, June 17, 2004

High tech help on the PGA Tour. Bloomberg Boot Camp, a report on today's technology. It is called ShotLink….a system the PGA is using with the help of wirelessly connect PDAs…to track every shot of every golfer on every hole on the tour. The data lets fans who subscribe…get real time information through the PGA's Web site. They call the service TourCast. But it turns out…golfers and caddies are finding ways to use the data to gain a competitive edge. Veteran caddy Mark Long…who is working with golfer Fred Funk tells us…

"One of the most valuable things is we can see how guys have played the hole and what kind of stroke average they're making from different areas. So it can help you either confirm what you might think is the right thing to do, or change your strategy to improve your scores. And I've actually used that to our benefit."

In the 2002 Buick Open…data obtained before Funk went out on the course helped him birdie a hole and tie for second place, winning more than 200 thousand dollars. Golfers and caddies are not allowed to carry electronic equipment with them onto the courses…but Long hopes that will change eventually…

"I think that'll change. I think it's inevitable that sooner or later you'll have kind of an electronic yardage book. And it could be pretty amazing if we get that done."

ShotLink and TournamentTracker were developed with IBM…which has been using notebook PCs at PGA events to show other caddies how they can use the technology. Bloomberg Boot Camp, I'm Fred Fishkin.