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Fox Sports Bringing Out All the Tools for US Open

LOS ANGELES—Now in its second year of broadcasting the U.S. Open, Fox Sports looks to “grip it and rip it” in terms of the technology it will bring to enhance the viewing experience of the major golf championship. Among the new tech that was announced by Michael Davies, Fox Sports senior vice president of field operations, and Zac Fields, senior vice president of graphic tech/integration, were the use of virtual reality, aerial drones, shot tracers, fairway rangefinders and graphic overlays.

With its virtual reality partner NextVR, Fox Sports will offer 360-degree views of the tee boxes and greens on holes 9, 17 and 18, as well as roving capability between holes 10 and 12, which neighbor each other. Live look-ins at the driving range will also be available, in addition to U.S. Open themed video on demand features. Lexus is sponsoring the multi-camera offering.

Example of Fox's green-shading graphics

Aerial drones will once again be part of Fox Sports U.S. Open coverage, providing course flyovers and high and low mapping to show changes in daily hole locations. A new feature for this year includes the capability to overlay graphics on-screen.

Protracer systems will be placed on 13 tee boxes on the course that will offer a variety of uses, including providing club speed, ball speed, picture-in-picture graphics showing the aerial flight path of the ball, and cameras for low-angle shots. Three radio-frequency mobile rangefinders have been added to this year’s broadcast to provide yardage and tracers for approach shots.

The Fox Sports broadcast will deploy 202 microphones across the course, including 18 cup microphones on all greens to capture natural sound and conversations. Also on the greens, Fox Sports will display green-shading graphics to show changes in slope on screen.

The 116th U.S. Open will take place at the Oakmont Country Club in Oakmont, Pa., from June 16-19.