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It’s elementary! Watson and Tom Watson partner on IBM’s digital Masters experience

Tom Watson + IBM Watson on the Future
When speaking of Watson with IBM, you’re now going to have to ask, “Which one?” Just in time for the Masters to tee off, the software company has partnered with none other than golf superstar Tom Watson, whose 45-year career and many Masters appearances will end this year. The collaboration might be better described as a well-placed celebrity endorsement of IBM’s Masters app, which promises to bring real-time tournament data to your mobile devices and wearables.

You can be sure that Watson himself (the golfer, not the AI that powers the app), will be urging his fan base to check out the tech. “You can follow any golfer you want and see exactly where they are, which is nice because on CBS they follow just a handful of players for the entire day, it feels like, and you never get to see anyone else,” he said. “So, I’m on the golf course at The Masters and I want to see what Rory McIlroy did on the second hole, I can flip out my phone and see instantly. That, to me, is what people want these days, they want instant access.”

Even if you’re not in Augusta for the big tournament, you can feel as close to the action as possible, thanks to a tracking experience that delivers a vibrant, real-time view of every shot for every player on each hole of the course. You can also take advantage of the new, “universal favoriting” feature available on wearable, mobile, and desktop platforms that allows you to personalize your digital tournament experience, spotlighting or favoriting the players you want to follow most closely throughout the action.

And with the Masters being the first big sports event to deliver a publicly available 4K video broadcast, you’ll see every birdie and bogie in excruciating detail.

Golfer Watson notes that the partnership with IBM feels like a natural one, telling Yahoo Finance, “To be honest with you, I’ve been thinking about IBM for a long time. I always felt like, wouldn’t it be cool to have an involvement with IBM? I wish they’d try to use me in some way, shape or form, and we could try to make fun of the situation. It always made sense to me.”

And obviously, IBM agrees. “We thought the partnership with Tom would be a great opportunity not only to celebrate his illustrious golf career and final Masters, but also to show how fans and athletes, including golfers, can harness the power of data and analytics,” said John Kent, the manager of IBM’s sponsorship marketing. And of course, the matching names didn’t hurt either.

While Tom Watson may not be as young as some of his competitors this weekend, he’s certainly every bit as technically savvy. Praising the app, he noted the huge learning potential fans and pros alike could glean from the Watson tech. “You see teaching directly off the phones now, where you can take a video of your swing and send it to your instructor who’s in Las Vegas, and he can look at it and talk to you about it — boom, just like that,” Watson said. “It’s almost real-time. Using technology and statistics to help you figure out where you need help in your game, absolutely that’s terrific. And that instant information is what young people are used to.”

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