Jordan Spieth won the Masters by four shots last year, and he made it seem easy. He became the first wire-to-wire winner since Raymond Floyd in 1976. Perhaps even more telling was that Spieth was the first Masters champion since Craig Wood in 1941 to never let anyone closer than three shots of his lead after the opening round. Spieth had a three-putt bogey on No. 12, and he missed a short par putt on the 18th hole that would have given him the Masters record. Instead, he tied Tiger Woods (1997) at 18-under 270.
It isn't easy to capture the best shots in a golf tournament that is being televised. And that's why IBM is applying the artificial intelligence of its Watson platform to the task of identifying the best shots at The Masters golf tournament. For the first time at a sporting event, IBM is harnessing Watson's ability to see, hear, and learn to identify great shots based on crowd noise, player gestures, and other indicators. IBM Watson will create its own highlight reels. With 90 golfers playing multiple rounds over four days, video from every tee, every hole, and multiple camera angles can quickly add up to thousands of hours of footage.
Masters moment: Losing a two-shot lead with three holes to play in 2013. Backspin: Coming off victories in the Arnold Palmer Invitational and Dell Match Play, he has taken over as a leading candidate to win a green jacket. Twice a runner-up at Augusta, but still haunted by 2013 when he had a two-shot lead on the 16th tee and made two straight bogeys. Tiger Woods in 2001 was the last player to win two straight tournaments going into the Masters and capture the green jacket. Masters moment: Setting the 36-hole record (130) and tying the 72-hole record (270) by going wire-to-wire to win.
Justin Rose sounded more like a golf fan planning out his Sunday TV schedule than a co-leader at the Masters prepping for the final round. There's Jordan Spieth, who "obviously has a special relationship the Masters," Rose said. And Rickie Fowler, who will "be all up for it tomorrow." And his Ryder Cup teammate Sergio Garcia, who will "have a great opportunity." He summed up his rundown saying, "There's wonderful storylines."
Maybe one of these days, someone other than Jordan Spieth will be leading the Masters. The 22-year-old Texan battled through blustery conditions to take a one-stroke edge over Rory McIlroy to Saturday's third round, making Spieth the first player in the history of Augusta National to have the lead all to himself in six straight rounds. He was on top from wire to wire a year ago, capturing his first green jacket in romp, and he's held the top spot through the first 36 holes this year. "I have two more days to give it everything I have, and that's what we'll do, just to try to keep myself right on top," Spieth said. While he was comfortably in front at this point a year ago, McIlroy figures to provide much stiffer competition.