Two stories, seemingly separate, on the PGA Tour this week show that even a savvy organization like the tour can struggle with the ideas of new technology.
For starters, the tour is for the first time this week live streaming all of its tournament at the Farmers Insurance Open in San Diego. In the past, the tour has live streamed play from specific holes, like the 17th at the TPC Stadium Course during the Players. They even did a series of holes, the Bear Trap, at the Honda Classic. But this is more complete coverage of the event live streamed to your computer or your smart phone or hand-held device.
So the questions is, what took so long? Other sports have been live streaming their events for years now. For the record, I think the live streaming coverage the tour is providing is pretty good. But what made the PGA Tour lag in this instance?
The second story from San Diego was a bit of a dust up over just how much tweeting a journalist can do from the golf course or even away form the course. The tour doesn’t want anything close to play-by-play tweeting from events, as the tour wants to protect it’s own rights to such things as well as protect the intrigue of its television coverage of such events.
Journalists, of course, want to be able to say something as immediately as possible, and Twitter allows that to happen. If that was a 6-iron to two feet by Tiger, why not be allowed to say it was a 6-iron to two feet?
Apparently the tour is struggling with Twitter and what should and shouldn’t be allowed on the medium as much as the rest of us. The immediacy of Twitter and the ability to send information out almost at the moment of an action threatens the tour’s ability to control the flow of information from its events. Most sports leagues or organizations are fighting that same problem.
For now, the tour is allowing one tweet per hole for a player. Honestly I wouldn’t want to event put out that many tweets (that’s @mydesertgolf, by the way).
The journalists in San Diego are certainly taking their shots at the tour on Twitter or the enforcement of the rules, but for not they are abiding. We’ll see how long that lasts.