News & ToursJune 5, 2015

Why you won't see the iconic scoreboards at this year's U.S. Open

The USGA has announced several enhancements to the U.S. Open's "digital fan experience," most notably the elimination of their iconic manual scoreboards. Fans sitting on the U.S. Open's 18th green, home to the largest of the manual scoreboards, will now see a video screen replicating the look of the old board while being interspersed with other content.

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"The 12 on-course boards and a 'monster' board at the 18th green will provide a steady stream of performance data, enhanced player statistics and video feeds throughout the course," announced a press release. "Fans will be treated to highlights between live groups, including 'What just happened?' moments throughout the day's play."

The USGA says the design of the digital scoreboards will pay homage to "traditional manual scoreboards in look and feel" while showing more scores simultaneously.

Few will miss the smaller on-course scoreboards that were slow to be updated, tricky to read and required many volunteers to operate. However, losing the 18th green manual board means the USGA is the only major championship to do away with a signature element of traditional tournament storytelling. Besides ending the joy of anticipating volunteers changing out a score, some of golf's greatest images have captured the game's best with the scoreboard as a backdrop. Video boards that have replaced manual boards include interruptions to the primary scores.

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Photographers also do not like the video boards because faster action shutters speeds tend to lead to video pixilation. Fans also traditionally pose for photos in front of the scoreboard bearing the USGA logo and championship decorations.

The Masters has golf's most famous 18th hole scoreboard and also uses the iconic white-and-black type design for online scoring. The same goes for the R&A with its traditional yellow "boxes" on either side of the 18th hole grandstands. The R&A, however, converted its on-course scoreboards to video in 2014. The PGA Championship continues to use a manual 18th hole scoreboard, too.

The USGA announced other fan enhancements, including a new app friendly to on-site spectators along with multiple channels of streaming coverage to augment the traditional network telecast.

Here are some more images of the scoreboards from over the years.

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