published Thursday, April 7th, 2011

Augusta National uses video games, Internet applications to reach new audience

AUGUSTA, Ga. — Augusta National Golf Club chairman Billy Payne has embraced technological advances involving the Masters — to a limit.

“We already have cutting-edge technology, but most of it is buried underground,” Payne said, referring to heating and cooling systems for the greens. “I don’t think, at least in my tenure, you’re not going to see any video boards or those kind of things out there [on the course].”

But video games? Internet access? An iPad app? Yep, the Masters have all that.

A three-year project between Electronic Arts and Augusta National has resulted in the course being added to the Tiger Woods video game franchise.

“We want to use our resources and capabilities to attract and interest kids in this game at an early age,” said Payne, who admonished Woods for his personal behavior in his annual address last year. “We believe that will have the greatest long-term potential of making them lifetime advocates and lovers of the game of golf.”

Donald is week’s first winner

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    Luke Donald of England examines the 17th green during a practice round for the Masters golf tournament Tuesday, April 5, 2011, in Augusta, Ga. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

Luke Donald could break an Augusta curse.

Donald’s 5-under was good enough to win Wednesday’s annual par-3 contest, an event that no champion has gone on to win the Masters. But on Tuesday, world No. 1 Martin Kaymer picked Donald to win on Sunday.

“Some short shots that you hit out here are similar to the course, so it’s partly why I play some years,” Donald said. “I think it’s good preparation.”

Craig Stadler had the only hole-in-one of the day. It came on No. 1 from 130 yards.

Get your tickets

It’s one thing to win a few thousand dollars in a scratch-off lottery.

To golf fans, it may be better to win a new Masters lottery in which members of the general public can win tickets to tournament rounds of the 2012 Masters.

Applications for the lottery will be taken through June 30 and are available only at Masters.com.

“They came from attrition,” Payne said. “We are not adding to the number of tickets. We’re not going to [give] an exact number, but it’s fair to define it as a significant number.”

about David Uchiyama...

David Uchiyama is a sports writer at the Chattanooga Times Free Press who began his tenure here in May 2001. His primary beats are UTC athletics — specifically men’s basketball and athletic department administration — and golf, which includes coverage from the PGA Tour to youth events. He also covers other high school sports, outdoor adventures, and contributes to other sections of the newspaper when necessary. David grew up in Salinas, Calif., and began working ...

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