Only the Masters could keep secret the kind of massive digital media initiative they rolled out this week at the 83rd edition of their tournament. Augusta National Chairman Fred Ridley announced on Wednesday during his one annual press conference that they had been working on a feature that would make video of “virtually” every shot hit by every player available on their website and mobile app minutes after it was struck. It sounded wild in theory, and then we saw it in practice on Thursday morning during the first round.
It’s a mind-boggling media achievement and a reminder that this tournament can do almost anything it wants. Other leagues and tournaments are encumbered by immobile cruise-ship size and media rights deals that might preclude something like this. The Masters can do and share its product however it wants, renewing its one-year handshake TV deal with CBS each year.
And then there is the matter of wherewithal — we’ve seen Augusta put up a sprawling new media center and a massive merchandise palace in each of the year two years, completing both projects in less than a year and with not sign of disruption to the tournament that had been there before. Now this digital effort could change the way golf is catalogued and shown forever, although it’s hard to see anyone ever doing it as well and efficiently as the Masters has shown so far this year.
The Masters field is a trim 87 players so the tee times of some of the featured groups do not start until late in the morning, unlike a regular PGA Tour week or another major when they may be out before 8 a.m. If you want to watch the very first groups out on the course, then that Track feature on the Masters app and website will be doing the instant highlights thing all morning and afternoon.
Following that, it’s on to the featured groups stream, which has also expanded its coverage in recent years. It used to be that the stream would not go live until the featured groups were in the middle of the round, somewhere on the first nine. But now we get that stream up and running from the very first tee. That seems like an obvious and simple choice but at Augusta, limited coverage used to be a credo and every extra minute added was supposed to be a gift to us all.
Here’s your full media and streaming schedule for the second at the Masters:
Friday’s second round coverage
3-7:30 p.m.: Live second round coverage – ESPN
8-11 p.m.: Replay of second round coverage – ESPN
3-7:30 p.m., 8-11 p.m.: Simulcast of TV coverage on WatchESPN
Available at Masters.com
9:58 a.m. to completion (~7:30 p.m.): Featured groups stream
- 9:58 a.m. — Zach Johnson, Ian Poulter, Matt Kuchar
- 10:53 a.m. — Phil Mickelson, Justin Rose, Justin Thomas
- 1:49 p.m. — Tiger Woods, Haotong Li, Jon Rahm
- 2 p.m. — Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, Cameron Smith
10:45 a.m.-6 p.m.: Amen Corner live stream
11:45 a.m.-7 p.m.: Nos. 15 and 16 live stream
2 p.m.-completion: Masters Radio – Masters.com