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New Masters Apple Vision Pro app gives golf fans whole new way to experience the tournament

The Masters Tournament is adding virtual reality and generative AI to the golf fan experience in the latest attempt to grow the game.

For the 2024 tournament, IBM (IBM) and Masters introduced an app for the Apple (AAPL) Vision Pro for fans of the sport who can’t make the trip to Augusta National Golf Course in Georgia.

“This year’s new Hole Insights feature, for example, uses eight years of historical Tournament data — more than 170,000 shots — to provide fans detailed breakdowns of how the course at Augusta has played,” Noah Syken, IBM's vice president of Sports and Entertainment, wrote in a statement to Yahoo Finance. “That level of detail allows a life-long golf fan following along at home to feel more connected to the action, while also making the game more approachable for a new fan at the same time.”

A Masters invitation is one of golf’s most coveted for players, and it's hosted at Augusta National, one of the most exclusive country clubs in the world. Entry isn’t guaranteed for fans, either, and tickets are limited to Masters lottery winners.

Masters App video view picture in picture grid
Masters App video view picture in picture grid (Courtesy IBM)

As of midway through the second round on Friday, the most affordable ticket for the final round at the Masters championship on Sunday cost $1,785.

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Instead of breaking the bank, many fans view the tournament on television, streaming platforms, or on the Masters web and mobile applications. Now, the Masters app, combined with IBM watsonx data and the Apple Vision Pro device, expands an experiential portal for fans who want to enjoy the event affordably from afar.

“This partnership is a great example of how data and AI can lead to once-unimaginable digital experiences that help fans feel closer to the events they care about,” Syken said.

AUGUSTA, GEORGIA - APRIL 12: Tiger Woods of the United States plays a shot on the ninth hole during the second round of the 2024 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 12, 2024 in Augusta, Georgia. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
Tiger Woods of the United States plays a shot on the ninth hole during the second round of the 2024 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 12, 2024, in Augusta, Georgia. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images) (Andrew Redington via Getty Images)

Those who are able to attend the event in person, however, are spending in droves on everything from restaurants and lodging to souvenirs.

Fans have been pouring into the gift shop at Augusta National and waiting in amusement park-like lines just to enter the store to purchase Masters golf merchandise, which can only be bought in person.

According to a top Master Card economist, it shows the strong rebound of the experience economy and “the purchasing power that's still out there on aggregate.”

“Small businesses [are] seeing a really important lift," Mastercard Economics Institute chief US economist Michelle Meyer told Yahoo Finance about the impact of the Masters on Augusta's local economy. "International folks [are] coming in. Tourism [is] bringing about this big burst of activity. So it shows you that consumers are really looking for those moments in time to spend, and when they find it, they have the ability to really participate.”

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