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PGA Tour bets big on Microsoft mobile, cloud services

Clint Boulton | June 13, 2016
Sweeping technology upgrades for fans and employees have the professional golf group building Windows 10 applications and migrating email and other computing tasks to the public cloud.

One throat to throttle

PGA Tour is also upgrading laptops used by its roughly 1,400 employees to Windows 10, which Evans synchronized with Microsoft's System Center. This configuration management software zips updates and patches over the air to devices that need them. "In that past, we've done these tasks manually, so this is advancing us to the point where we can control this all from a central server," Evans says.

In keeping with the one-throat-to-throttle philosophy of picking a single strategic partner, PGA Tour is also migrating its employees from a legacy email system to Office 365, which includes productivity and collaboration tools and Skype. Evans has also provisioned Microsoft's Azure public cloud computing service to build a content-relevancy engine that cross-references past tournament data with video, photos and articles generated by PGA Tour’s editorial team.

This service will allow, for example, PGA Tour employees working in the graphics room on broadcasts to enter descriptions of certain golfing scenarios to retrieve statistics on the player's likelihood of success. For example, the software could calculate that a player has 50 percent chance of making par or an 8 percent chance of birdying a hole, based on what they've done in the past.

That is as far as PGA Tour will go with predictive analytics for now, says Evans, who warns that it is difficult to predict who will win a tournament solely based on past performance.


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