Video: Robot has hole-in-one at TPC Scottsdale’s 16th hole

‘Eldrick’ aces hole on just its fifth attempt to set off wild scenes in grandstands

The  par-three at TPC Scottsdale, host to this week’s Phoenix Open. Photograph: Scott Halleran/Getty Images

The par-three at TPC Scottsdale, host to this week’s Phoenix Open. Photograph: Scott Halleran/Getty Images

 

From swing analysis machines to laser distance-measuring devices, golfers have always tended to be ahead of the curve when it comes to using technology.

But maybe the future will be spectators guzzling beer as they watch robots battle it out on the fairways.

Far-fetched?

No at all as spectators found during the build-up to the Phoenix Open after a robot named ‘Eldrick’ had a hole-in-one at TPC Scottsdale’s famous par-three 16th hole?

Second Captains

It happened on Wednesday when the rudimentary-looking machine aced the 163-yard hole on just its fifth attempt, setting off wild scenes in the wraparound grandstands.

The robot is part-owned by CBS golf commentator Gary McCord, although there was no confirmation that he stood a round of drinks after Eldrick’s hole-in-one.

If the threat of artificial intelligence is a new one on the golf course, the rowdy supporters showed a rather more base level by flinging their beer bottles and cups on to the green.

That tradition is believed to have started when Tiger Woods – first name Eldrick – aced the hole back in 1997 when the grandstands were minimal compared to the full-on stadium that greets the players now.

What greeted the field on Thursday was a desert frost that delayed the start of play by half an hour.

Shane Lowry is now due to tee-off at 4pm Irish time, while Pádraig Harrington (7.16pm) and Paul Dunne (8.10pm) are out later on day one.

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