This Thursday and Friday the USA Network will cover the opening two rounds of the Masters. USA goes on the air at 4 p.m., but many viewers can't be in front of a set at the appointed hour. For those who own a computer with a modem speed of 56K or higher, and who, when they're finally able to watch the action, want to zero in on the coverage devoted to their favorite holes or golfers, there's a solution.
The tournament's official Web site, www.masters.org, has contracted with FasTV.com, a leader in video-streaming technology, to equip the site with a Masters Video Player. Users will get an index of USA's coverage (and CBS's on April 8 and 9) listed by golfer and hole, among other categories. If you want to focus on the 12th at Augusta National, you can click on the hole number and view video of the shots on Amen Corner's par-3.
"Technologically, we could take any video shot and have it up in about a minute," says FasTV.com spokesman Blair Rhodes. This year, however, because of rights agreements between the tournament and CBS, the Masters Video Player can be accessed only at the conclusion of each round—and only pictures that made it onto the telecast will be available.
With an event such as the Masters in which action is flung across 18 holes, real-time computer video might be preferable to traditional television coverage. Someday, perhaps, the lords of Augusta and the networks will allow Web-connected viewers to make the choice.