IBM iX and Corporate team project members include: Brian Adams, Aaron Baughman, Karen Eickemeyer, Monica Ellingson, Stephen Hammer, Eythan Holladay, John Kent, William Padget, David Provan, Karl Schaffer, Andy Wismar

+ This content is part 1 of the 4-part series that describes AI Highlights at the Masters Golf Tournament.



As a par 72 with 7,435 yards of golf play and around 100 players in the field, the Masters at Augusta National has thousands of golf situations.  With many of the exciting moments happening at the same or within a similar time vicinity, fans will miss some of the best and pivotal golf moments.  With the help from AI, individualized multimedia experiences are customized to fans with the depth and breadth of the most exciting highlights.

Live content is streamed from four video channels into a shot detection.  Clips of candidate shots are segmented using scene detection, camera fades and dissolves.  Optical Character Recognition (OCR) extracts clip metadata such as name and hole number to provide additional clues for shot segmentation.  The segmented clips are uploaded to Akamai Netstorage while a job descriptor file is placed into a Cloudant Queue.  A dispatcher that runs on IBM Cloud continually pulls new jobs to be processed on GPU based machines.  AI measures crowd noise, gesture analysis, emotions, and speech to determine components of excitement for a clip.  The results of the excitement vector are stored within a Cloudant database and posted to a Content Management System.

A team of human editors reviews the quality of the highlights and rankings.  If the highlights are acceptable, they are stored within DB2 and accessible through a “My Moments” Application Programming Interface (API).  To support their story telling, the Masters editorial team can access the highlights through a web-based AI Highlights Dashboard.


The AI Highlights system analyzed one of the greatest chip shots in the history of golf: Tiger Woods chip shot on the 16th at the 2005 Masters.  With only 3 holes left to play, Tiger Woods lead Chris DiMarco by only 1 shot!  The rest of the field was 6 shots behind both golfers.  Tiger Woods did not start hole 16 well.  With an 8-iron, he sent his golf ball left of the green.  The ball was 50 feet from the green right next to the rough.  The most likely outcome would be a bogey or double bogey.  Going for birdie, the video below shows the highlight.


The AI Highlights found the Tiger Woods shot to be extremely exciting.  The gestures that were recognized in the clip included several fist pumps from the caddie and Tiger Woods produced the highest possible score.  The crowd cheer was very loud showing the magic of the shot.  The lowest component of the analysis was the commentator speech as if the commentator expected Tiger Woods to have a historical shot.

At last year’s Masters tournament, a sudden death playoff featured Sergio Garcia and Justin Rose.  Both golfers played fantastic to separate themselves from the rest of the golfers.  During the playoff, Sergio Garcia had two putts to place golf in the hole that was 12 feet out.  In all likelihood, Sergio was going to make one of the putts.  Going for the Masters win, the below highlight was analyzed by our AI system:

Sergio Garcia made his first putt to the delight of the crowd.  The AI Highlights system discovered loud cheering that was slightly lower in excitement than the Tiger Wood’s chip shot.  The gesture recognizer identified only slight celebratory hand motions, which did not contribute much to the overall excitement.  The commentator speech was measured as more exciting for Sergio Garcia’s win as opposed to Tiger Wood’s shot on the 16th.

A few other example highlights include:

Year Summary Overall Excitement Crowd Roar Player Gesture Commentator Excitement video
1986 Jack Nicklaus 16th hole tee shot 0.31 0.24 0.73 0.28 video
1987 Larry Mize 11th hole chip in during the playoffs 0.26 0.27 0.73 0.00 video
1988 Sandy Lyle 18th hole second shot 0.29 0.3 0.66 0.10 video
2004 Phil Michelson 18th hole putt 0.36 0.37 0.11 0.49 video
2010 Phil Michelson 13th hole second shot 0.22 0.32 0.01 0.09 video
2012 Bubba Watson 10th hole second shot in the Playoffs 0.33 0.32 1.0 0.02 video

AI Listens, Watches and Reads the Masters Golf Tournament Action

+ This content is part 1 of the 4-part series that describes AI Highlights at the Masters Golf Tournament.

Join The Discussion

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *