Posts with «golf» label

Netflix's first live sports event is a golf tournament featuring F1 drivers and PGA Tour pros

Netflix is getting into live sports streaming, but it's not shelling out hundreds of millions of dollars on NFL games, Formula 1 races or the English Premier League quite yet. The company's first live sports event is a pro-am golf tournament that features athletes from its Formula 1: Drive to Survive and Full Swing docuseries.

The Netflix Cup will see four pairs of Formula 1 drivers and PGA Tour golfers pairing up in a match play tournament that will take place in Las Vegas. You'll be able to watch the event starting at 6PM ET on Tuesday, November 14 — just a few days before F1's inaugural Las Vegas Grand Prix.

As things stand, The Netflix Cup is set to feature F1 drivers Alex Albon, Pierre Gasly, Lando Norris and Carlos Sainz. The golf pros who have lined up to take part are Rickie Fowler, Max Homa, Collin Morikawa and Justin Thomas. The tournament will see the pro-am pairs play an eight-hole match. The top two teams will duke it out on a final hole to try and win the Netflix Cup.

“The continued success of Drive to Survive has played a significant role in the growth of Formula 1 in the US, which has ultimately led to the addition of a third American race,” Emily Prazer, chief commercial officer of Las Vegas Grand Prix, Inc, said in a statement. “It’s only fitting that we kick off our inaugural race weekend with a fun event that can be streamed by F1 and PGA Tour fans around the globe.”

This is a logical way for Netflix to dip its toes into live sports streaming. It means that the company doesn't have to immediately snap up expensive rights to high-profile leagues (many of which have deals with rival streaming services anyway) or to showcase lower-tier sports.

It's also another example of Netflix's cross-branding coming to the forefront. The company is placing more focus on its own properties with things like a Squid Game reality competition series and branded retail stores that will feature an obstacle course based on its biggest hit to date. Netflix is also said to be developing more video game adaptations of its shows and movies, such as Extraction and Black Mirror.

Netflix's first livestreamed event was a Chris Rock standup special. However, the company ran into technical problems with its second planned livestream, a Love is Blind cast reunion. The company instead filmed the reunion and uploaded it to the platform as quickly as it could. Netflix will be hoping things go more smoothly this time around.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

Mobile hit 'What the Golf' is coming to PlayStation soon

The unconventional sports sim What the Golf is officially coming to PS4 and PS5 consoles later this year. The release is set to include all current updates, which is always nice, and has been optimized for Sony consoles. This includes haptic-based DualSense support so you can really feel the impact of striking a ball, a cat or an entire planet toward a hole (it’s a weird and funny game.)

What the Golf takes the basic notions of a golf sim and upends them entirely. There are plenty of ludicrous golf-adjacent minigames and the rules change on a dime, leading to hilarious multiplayer matchups. Some levels take you to space, while others transform the golf ball into an office chair, among many other objects. The absurdity on display has made the game a hit, even among those who have little interest in golf.

The game originally released on Apple Arcade, but was eventually ported to the Nintendo Switch. To that end, the Switch version is getting a beefy update tomorrow, August 3rd, that features a crossover with murder/snitch simulator Among Us. The update includes a new overworld and 35 new levels. These levels already launched for Apple Arcade back in April, but this is the first time they'll be available on a dedicated gaming console. The PC version is also getting some Among Us love.

Developer Triband has also announced seasonal updates dropping over the course of the next year. These will include new stages and other surprises, coinciding with holidays like Thanksgiving and Valentine’s Day. All versions of the game will have access to these free updates, including Switch, PC, PS4 and PS5. It all starts with the Halloween-themed Beware of the Bogeyman, which is available from October 23rd until November 5th.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

Netflix may soon livestream a golf tournament featuring F1 drivers and pro golfers

If you never thought that Formula 1 and pro golf could go together, Netflix begs to differ. The streaming service is said to be in talks to livestream its first ever sporting event, a celebrity golf tournament featuring F1 drivers and professional golfers, according to The Wall Street Journal. It would reportedly feature personalities from Full Swing and Drive to Survive, Netflix documentaries that follow F1 drivers and pro golfers. Talks are still preliminary, according to the WSJ.

A celebrity golf event would be a low-stakes way for Netflix to work out a format and solve any technical issues that could occur in future live sports events. It famously messed up a livestream of its Love is Blind reality show, with technical problems causing an hour-long outage, though its first live stream event, a Chris Rock comedy special, went smoothly.

The company may have also noticed the popularity of golf YouTube channels like Rick Shiels and Bob Does Sports. Those often feature top-echelon pros like Max Homa playing rounds and competing with average players, trash talking and swearing like the rest of us do while playing golf. A similar format, with F1 drivers and players competing but also having fun, could draw in casual viewers that would otherwise never watch golf — much like Full Swing did

Netflix has supposedly been exploring live sports streaming for more than a year. It previously bid for live US streaming rights to Formula 1, but reportedly lost out to ESPN. It has also supposedly explored bidding on rights for tennis, cycling and other lower-profile sports. 

Earlier this year, co-CEO Ted Sarandos said "we aren't anti-sports, we're pro-profit," implying that Netflix doesn't think the costs for sports rights make economic sense. At the same time, he said the company was leaving the possibility open. Meanwhile, rivals like Amazon Prime Video have streamed live sports for years from leagues including the NFL, Major League Baseball, ATP, Premiere League and more. 

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

This golf robot uses a Microsoft Kinect camera and a neural network to line up putts

Robots that can whack a golf ball down a fairway aren't exactly new, but building one that can play the nuanced short game is a more complex problem. Researchers at Paderborn University in Germany have done just that with Golfi, a machine that uses a neural network to figure out how to line up a putt and how hard to hit the ball to get it into the hole from anywhere on the green.

The robot takes a snapshot of the green with a Microsoft Kinect 3D camera and it simulates thousands of random shots taken from different positions. It takes factors like the turf's rolling resistance, the ball's weight and the starting velocity into account. Paderborn doctoral student Annika Junker told IEEE Research that training Golfi on simulated golf shots takes five minutes, compared with 30-40 hours were the team to feed data from real-life shots into the system.

Once Golfi has figured out the shot it should take, it rolls over to the ball and uses a belt-driven gear shaft with a putter attached to make the putt. The robot doesn't get the ball in the hole every time, though. Junker said the robot nailed the shot around 60-70 percent of the time. That's still a better accuracy rate than most amateur golfers and at least you won't see Golfi fly off the handle like Happy Gilmore if it misses.

However, Golfi sometimes drove over the ball and moved it out of position. The researchers have only tested the robot in the lab, so real-world conditions, like greens with divots or steep slopes, may pose problems for a system that relies on a bird's-eye view.

In any case, the researchers didn't set out to build a robot capable of competing with PGA Tour pros. They hope that the techniques they used in Golfi could be used for other robotics applications. “You can also transfer that to other problems, where you have some knowledge about the system and could model parts of it to obtain some data, but you can’t model everything,” Niklas Fittkau, another Paderborn University doctoral student and co-lead author of a paper on Golfi, told IEEE Research.

Back in 2016, a different robot called LDRIC sank a hole-in-one at a PGA event (albeit on the fifth attempt). I wonder who footed the bill for a round of drinks at the clubhouse afterward.

Golf is coming to 'Nintendo Switch Sports' on November 28th

Nintendo Switch Sports is a fun package that modernizes the world-conquering Wii Sports, but it was missing a few of the 2006 classic's game modes at the jump. One of those will arrive very soon as a November 28th update will add golf to the game.

You'll have access to 21 holes from the Wii Sports series. Along with casual modes that you can enjoy with family and friends, you can check out a survival golf mode. Nintendo hasn't revealed too many details about the latter yet, other than the fact you'll need to "swing to avoid elimination." It may be similar to the 16-player bowling survival mode. 

No matter which modes you try, be sure to strap the Joy-Con to your wrist before you start swinging your hand around. You won't want the controller to fly out of your hand and smash your TV or monitor.

Nintendo previously said golf would be available in Switch Sports this fall, so it's showing up right on schedule. The company hasn't confirmed whether the likes of boxing or baseball are on the way, but fingers crossed that Nintendo will add those as surprise updates at some point down the line.

Get ready to grab that iron & step up to the tee!

The #NintendoSwitchSports Golf update will arrive on 11/28, and will include a total of 21 holes from the Wii Sports series. Swing to avoid elimination in Survival Golf, or enjoy some casual competition with friends and family!

— Nintendo of America (@NintendoAmerica) November 22, 2022

'PGA Tour 2K23' will debut on October 11th with Michael Jordan as a playable character

NBA 2K23 isn't the only major sports game that 2K will release in the next couple of months. The publisher has revealed that PGA Tour 2K23 will arrive on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S and Steam on October 11th. Two versions will be available on that date: the deluxe edition and the Tiger Woods edition. 2K will release the standard edition on October 14th.

This is the first game in 2K's PGA Tour series since it brought in Woods last year to work with HB Studios as an executive director and consultant. Not only is Woods one of the most successful golfers of all time, he was also the face of EA Sports' golf games for 15 years.

As you might expect, Woods is a playable character in PGA Tour 2K23. Other pros who are available at the outset include Justin Thomas, Lexi Thompson, Lydia Ko, Collin Morikawa, Will Zalatoris, Brooke Henderson. More will be added later. There are 20 licensed courses — including South Course of Wilmington Country Club, The Renaissance Club and St. George’s Golf and Country Club — and you'll be able to create your own.

You can try new casual modes, including Topgolf, where you hit targets and try to achieve the highest score. Online modes include custom tournaments and full seasons with friends. There's also a Clubhouse Pass (with free and premium tiers) that will include post-launch content.

Both the deluxe and digital-only Tiger Woods editions include the PS4 and PS5 versions, or Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S versions of the game. Other bonuses include virtual currency and cosmetic items. If you pre-order the standard edition (or buy the other two editions) you'll receive a bonus pack that includes NBA legend Michael Jordan as a playable character.

PGA has released a new AR gaming app for kids

Young golfers can now turn their physical surroundings into a digital putting green, courtesy of the same tech behind Niantic's Pokémon Go. The PGA Jr. League today unveiled Safari Par-Tee, a new AR mobile gaming platform available on both iOS and Android. Trigger — the developer behind the app — built it with Niantic’s Lightship kit for AR apps. Players can use their smartphone to scan their physical environment into an interactive golf course.

While Safari Par-Tee is aimed toward youth golfers (it even features very cutesy animal avatars), its AR capabilities will likely make it a draw for parents and older family members to join in as well. The game has a number of multiplayer options, allowing players to match with other local players in real-time, or connect with specific players over WiFi The game also allows players to hold communal scoring contests with multiple rounds and different clubs. For players who are new to golf, the game introduces them to the fundamentals of the game as well as the various styles of play. The game features three different terrains, all with different obstacles and objectives. 

Given that the world of golf video games has plenty of options geared to adults (such as PGA TOUR 2K21, Tiger Woods PGA Tour and the recently delayed EA Sports PGA Tour), a free entry for kids seems like a refreshing change of pace. Safari Par-Tee is now available to download on either Apple’s App Store or the Google Play store.

TAG Heuer's latest golf smartwatch offers more help with your shots

TAG Heuer was virtually certain to follow up its Connected Calibre E4 smartwatch with a version for golf enthusiasts, and it's now clear you didn't have to wait long. The watchmaker has introduced a Calibre E4 Golf Edition that melds the updated wristwear with some matching upgrades to your experience on the fairway. Most notably, the brand has overhauled the on-watch map interface to show more of the course and your game, including the distances for the target and tracking shot.

You can also expect automatic shot tracking when you swing at the tee — the feature will eventually come to the Apple Watch app, but it's worth noting if you're determined to perfect your drive. If you pair with an iPhone, you can also use TAG Heuer's iOS app to share 3D videos of your best shots. Like you'd expect, the Golf Edition E4 has its share of game-inspired faces and a strap that not-so-subtly mimics the dimples on your ball.

This is otherwise the titanium 45mm Calibre E4 introduced in February, although that's plenty if you want a reasonably current Wear OS watch. You'll find a Snapdragon Wear 4100+ chip that promises both faster performance and 30 percent more battery life than previous models. An altimeter will help with your hiking trips, and the brighter screen will help on sunny golfing days. TAG Heuer should upgrade the watch to Wear OS 3 when it's available.

The Connected Calibre E4 Golf Edition will be available this month for $2,650 with three Titleist balls and a spare marker in the box. That's more than the regular titanium E4 ($2,550) and well above the $1,800 'entry' price for the watch range. But let's be honest: if you're even considering a TAG Heuer smartwatch and already devote your weekends to golf, you can likely afford to pay the premium for this variant.

'Mario Golf' will join Nintendo's Switch Online Expansion Pack on April 15th

You can already play Mario Golf on the Switch thanks to Super Rush, but soon you'll also be able to play the original game that started the series if you're feeling nostalgic. Nintendo is giving Switch Online subscribers paying extra for the Expansion Pack tier access to the first Mario Golf published in 1999. 

Get into the swing! ⛳

Tee off with Mario and friends when Mario Golf comes to #NintendoSwitch for #NintendoSwitchOnline + Expansion Pack members on 4/15.

— Nintendo of America (@NintendoAmerica) April 7, 2022

The Nintendo 64 game lets you choose from characters that include Mario, his friends and allies, as well as his enemies, and play golf on Mario-themed courses. It has several gameplay modes, such as Tournament, Speed Golf and Mini Golf, though it was developed to be easy to play, even for kids. 

Nintendo launched the Switch Online Expansion Pack in October 2021 as a higher tier subscription that costs $50 a year. That's $30 more than an individual basic subscription, but it will give you access to classic N64 and Sega Genesis games. The basic subscription only includes access to Nintendo's NES and SNES titles. 

While the gaming giant launched the service with a limited number of games, it has added quite a few more since then. They include the original Paper Mario, Banjo-Kazooie and The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask. Nintendo has also rolled out some improvement updates that fix several emulation issues plaguing the service since its debut, such as bad input lag.

The original Mario Golf will be available to Expansion Pack members on April 15th. 

'EA Sports PGA Tour' is delayed by a year

Golf fans will have to wait another full year to play EA’s next PGA Tour game, with the publisher announcing a delay this week. When it first revealed it was returning to golf games last March, EA said its plan was to release EA Sports PGA Tour sometime in the spring of 2022. The company has now set a spring 2023 launch window. EA did not share a reason for the delay, nor did it say what platforms the “next-gen” revival would be available on when it finally does launch.

Experience the next generation of championship golf 🏌️🎮

Coming Spring 2023 🗓️


What it did do is reiterate that the title will feature all four major tournaments – the Masters, the US Open, the Britsh Open and the PGA Championship – and run on its proprietary Frostbite engine from Dice. Speaking of Dice, the delay is significantly longer than the one EA gave the Swedish studio to work on Battlefield 2042 ahead of its rocky launch. Months after release, BF2042 is still missing key features, including in-game voice chat support, and Dice only recently added a proper scoreboard to the game.