RBC Heritage

Harbour Town Golf Links

Innovation That Excites

This drone’s-eye view of Rory McIlroy playing Riviera's iconic 18th hole might be the coolest thing since TopTracer

February 17, 2022

Technology. Blessing or and curse. Love it or and hate it. Most humans in the year 2022 would sum up their relationship with the whirring symphony of 5G and touchscreens surrounding them at every second of every day as such. Sometimes it’s great. Sometimes it's the exact opposite. Thankfully we got a first-hand look at the fun side of our march toward robot apocalypse at the Genesis Open this week, where the PGA Tour debuted an entirely new way for audiences to watch a golf shot. Take it away, Rory.

Honestly this is sick. It looks like a splashy trailer to the latest edition of ‘PGA Tour 2K’ … only it's real life. The way the McIlroy’s ball seems to hang in the air at the peak of its trajectory as we look down on it, spotting it’s landing before it arrives, feels totally new and fresh—exactly the sensation innovation is meant to impart. In fact, we’d even go as far as to say that if the PGA Tour could find a way to scale this—to make it a component of their broadcasts on featured holes or within featured groups—it could become the coolest thing since TopTracer.

We're not there yet, of course. Not even close. First of all, you have to get players on board. Second, and even tougher, is convincing the no-hoodie crowd. Finally you have to make sure the whole operation is bulletproof, because if you think beaning a fan with an errant tee shot is bad, just imagine a quartet of spinning drone blades. But there’s no doubt as we watch footage like this (not to mention the spectacular airborne tour of East Lake last fall), that the tour is, at the very least, thinking about it. The future is coming … yes, even for golf.