Golf fans tuning in to watch The Masters on the tournament’s app and website this week may have a question: how is a single commentator providing play-by-play updates on all 18 holes simultaneously?
The answer: AI-generated commentary has teed off at Augusta National.
Released in association with IBM, the feature will automatically add spoken commentary to more than 20,000 video clips across the duration of the major, according to a press release. Since 2019, The Masters has promised to offer viewers footage of ‘Every Shot, Every Hole’ on its app and website.
A language model – like ChatGPT – was trained on the language of golf and The Masters, IBM vice president of sports and entertainment partnerships Noah Syken said in a blog post.
“The model then chooses the best sentence, passes that sentence into Watson Text-to-Speech service, aligns the audio with the action in the clip, and even varies the language and sentence structure from clip to clip,” Syken said.
The following is a transcription of the AI commentary for Tiger Woods’ first hole of the tournament, which he navigated in four strokes for an opening par.
“Woods is teeing off on hole one and has 445 yards to the hole. He took his first stroke from the tee and the ball has 153 yards to the pin,” the commentary said. “Tiger is playing on hole one and hitting from the fairway. The ball travelled 143 yards to the green.
“Following his previous shot from the fairway, Tiger will take his first shot on the green. He missed his putt on hole one. Woods is putting for par. He made a shot for par.”
“I believe AI Commentary in the Masters app is an example of the kinds of use cases we can expect: purpose-built AI models, built from trusted data, designed to serve up helpful, accurate information on specific subject matter,” Syken said.
He added: “So as you enjoy the AI commentary feature in the Masters app this week, think about the potential for this technology to not just change the game, but change the world.”