SkyCaddie GPS, the official rangefinder of the PGA of Great Britain & Ireland, will be used by BBC commentators at The 137th Open Golf Championship to tell viewers how far golfers have driven the ball and how far they have to greens and hazards.
Portable, handheld SkyCaddie SG5s have been loaded with new software so on-course reporters like Paul Eales will instantly be able to measure distances on the course and report them back to the live commentary team.
SkyCaddies have been used extensively on the LPGA Tour to improve broadcasts by the Golf Channel and will enable the BBC to accurately present player performance statistics on every single hole at The Open.
Jackie Hitchcock, of SkyCaddie Europe, said, “Because of the market-leading accuracy provided by SkyCaddie, Open Championship viewers will be given precise information, such as players’ driving distances and positioning and distances needed to clear or lay up in front of hazards.
“We will load the new teebox positions into the SkyCaddies every morning, so the commentators can be sure they will be communicating the most accurate detail they have ever had.”
“We are delighted to be working with the BBC to enhance their tournament broadcast from Royal Birkdale.”
The BBC will again use Virtual Eye to create animated visual graphics on seven of Birkdale’s famous links holes during The Open. Distances on four holes will be measured by the Virtual Eye team, using their own GPS backpacks, while SkyCaddies will be used on the other three by BBC on-course experts.
Added Jackie, “We are very proud to be playing a part in improving the BBC’s Open Championship coverage. By using SkyCaddies, the BBC will be able to provide instant playing statistics on all seven of the holes featured by Virtual Eye. In addition, all 11 other holes can be covered on foot quickly and easily by their own on-course reporters.
“SkyCaddie is the most accurate handheld golf GPS system in the world, as all course distances have been verified on foot by a team of professional golf course ‘mappers’ – known as ‘enablers’.”
Royal Birkdale was recently mapped along with Loch Lomond, where SkyCaddies were also used by the BBC during the Barclays Scottish Open.
BBC commentator Paul Eales, a member of the European Tour Players‘ Committee, said, “I can highly recommend SkyCaddie. Having used it both for playing tournament golf and in my role as an on course commentator for the BBC, the SkyCaddie brings you accurate information in an instant.”
Eales is writing a daily blog for the SkyCaddie website during Open week, describing life as a BBC commentator.