SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — While fans will not be allowed to attend next week’s PGA Championship at San Francisco’s TPC Harding Park course because of the current surge in COVID-19 cases, several high tech innovations will give remote fans a unique view of the competition.
The tournament will be aired on KPIX 5 on Aug. 8 and Aug. 9th as the likes of Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm and Bryson DeChambeau will battle over four days for professional golf’s first major tournamnet of the year. CBS will also be providing week-long coverage of the event across CBS Sports Network, CBS All Access, CBS Sports HQ and CBSSports.com.
In light of the COVID-19 restrictions, CBS Sports will deploy cutting-edge remote and on-course technology to maximize social distancing and protect the players from possible exposure.
On Tuesday, PGA Tour officials announced they were modifying their COVID-19 protocols heading into San Francisco.
The PGA Tour originally said three weeks ago, based on guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, that players or caddies who tested positive with symptoms could return after 10 days of isolation and at least 72 hours without a fever.
Based on new CDC guidance, tour officials said, those who test symptomatic positive only have to be fever-free for 24 hours to return after they conclude the 10 days of isolation. They said the new guidance also recommends no more testing for those players for three months.
The Tour is also doing away with what became known as the “COVID-19 groups.”
For those who test positive and meet criteria to return, the tour is lifting restrictions that kept them from the clubhouse and other facilities at the course, such as the fitness trailer. Any player or caddie in this situation will meet with the medical team to make sure they fit the CDC requirements.
Meanwhile, the tour said there will be no pro-ams or paid spectators the rest of the season that ends Sept. 7 at the Tour Championship.
While the lack of live attendence is certainly a disappointment for Bay Area golf fans, they will be given a birds-eye view of the play on the telecast from a squadron of drones that will hover over the course.
Among the other high tech features being deployed to enhance the remote viewing experience will be:
- Fly Cam – CBS will utilize Fly Cams that stretch nearly 700 feet and oscillate up and down to provide a fresh perspective and angle on the practice range.
- 4D Replay – CBS will bring back 4D Replay on the 14th hole. Introduced for the first time on a U.S. golf broadcast at the 2018 PGA Championship at Bellerive, an array of 4D cameras border the tee box to offer a 180-degree look around the player to provide a thorough breakdown of a players’ swing.
- Toptracer – CBS will use Toptracer broadcast technology on all 18 holes, using 3D radar tracking to provide the viewer with a true sense of distance, height, curvature and more. Tracing live tee shots on various holes showing the apex, ball speed, distance and curve will once again be staples of this technology.
- Toptracer RF – Toptracer will outfit three RF mini cameras in order to provide ball tracking graphics and statistics on a player’s second shot from the fairway anywhere on the course.
- ARL Virtual Eye – Virtual Eye technology returns this year with increased coverage on all holes (except the par 3s). Virtual Eye uses Toptracer ball tracing capabilities on tee shots within a 3D hole model while simultaneously showing the golfer hit his shots from the tee. Virtual flyover animations also return, giving a second shot perspective once the ball comes to rest, including GolfTrax information providing key statistical information for both individual players and holes.
- SwingVision – CBS returns its Emmy Award-winning technical innovation, SwingVision. Featuring super-slow action to break down players’ swings and demonstrate shots from various parts of the course, there will be two SwingVisions deployed to capture twice as many dramatic replays of golfer shots.
- EVS Replay – More than 225 channels of EVS replay will be on-site to record all of the camera sources and replays when required.
- Sony Hawkeye – Sony Hawkeye Replay servers will aid the broadcast, and for the first time, operators’ will contribute to replay coverage remotely.