Zen Green Completes Grand Slam of Major Appearances
It’s the most coveted feat in golf: the calendar grand slam. Ben Hogan got close in 1953, when he won the Masters, the US Open and the British Open Championship. Tiger Woods had a similar result in 2000, winning every major in the year but the Masters. No modern golfer has accomplished the deed. But at this year’s British Open at Royal Portrush, the Zen Green Stage achieved one version of this incredible feat. For the fourth and final major of the year, it was used in Sky Sports Golf’s TV coverage.
The Zen Green Stage was a pivotal part of Sky’s Open Zone where, for the third year in a row, the world’s best golfers and coaches used the Stage, benefitting from the Stage’s adjustable slopes to offer a variety of unique insights into techniques and Portrush’s conditions. A brilliant addition to Sky’s coverage, the Stage allowed users to simulate various kinds of sloping putts and hanging lies, perfect for demonstrating techniques and giving the viewer a better understanding of the challenges facing players at Royal Portrush.
At the centre of the Zen Green Stage’s coverage this year was Danny Willett and Tom Lewis, who both placed in the top 10 of the Open. The two English golfers made use of the Stage’s variable slope options to give a clinic on hitting full shots from sloping lies, walking viewers through their technique and providing a golfing masterclass. Another golfer who used the Green Stage was the five-time PGA Tour winner Billy Horschel, who also utilised the Stage’s slope options to show viewers how to read sloping greens.
Other top players who were seen making use of the Green Stage included the Australian, former Masters Champion, Adam Scott and last year’s Open winner Francesco Molinari, as well as Ryan Fox, Branden Grace and Dame Laura Davies, all of which took part in Sky Sports’ entertaining 148-yard challenge.
Perhaps the most informative users of the Green Stage, however, were various tour coaches. Pete Cowen and Graham Walker also presented from the Zen Green Stage, with the latter talking about how he helps last week’s runner-up Tommy Fleetwood with his short game on Tour.
The highlight of Sky’s Green Stage coverage, however, had to be when Sky Sports pundits Paul McGinley, David Howell and Andrew Coltart took part in a live putting contest. The Stage’s ability to alter its curvature and gradient allowed this to take place on a variety of real-world slopes and made for particularly entertaining and informative viewing.
“The team at Sky Sports is incredibly receptive to new ideas, and it is a privilege to have such a profound relationship with Europe’s leading sports broadcaster” said Zen Green Stage founder, Nick Middleton. “Being able to put superstars onto real-world slopes in the live Open Zone environment creates brilliant flexibility when planning a TV feature, especially with instruction in mind.
“Sky Sports continue to lead the broadcast revolution” he continued. “Innovations such as last week’s debut of Sky Scope are just the latest example of how Sky Sports is showing the world how to present golf in an accessible, entertaining and authentic way.”
The Zen Green Stage may, technically, be a piece of equipment, as opposed to a golfer, but its grand slam of major’s coverage is an impressive achievement nevertheless. The Stage enhances Sky’s coverage of golf’s greatest championships immensely. Thankfully for viewers it is a staple at the pinnacle of TV coverage of the sport.
For more details about the Zen Green Stage, see www.zenoracle.com
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