| ||USGA, WGT To Launch Free Virtual
U.S. Open Championship|
March 25, 2009
Far Hills, N.J. -
The United States Golf Association and
World Golf Tour
(WGT) announced Wednesday that they have formed an agreement
to host the first Virtual U.S. Open Championship on
Developed in partnership with Bethpage State Park in
Farmingdale, N.Y., the Virtual U.S. Open will take place on a
state-of-the-art simulation of the Black Course at Bethpage,
allowing golf enthusiasts everywhere to play an online golf
championship from their computers at no cost, at the same
time and on virtually the same course as the actual U.S. Open
competitors in June.
, the official Web site of the U.S. Open, can play qualifying
rounds for the Virtual U.S. Open, beginning May 25
through June 21
The top 156 qualifiers plus ties will then square off for the
Virtual U.S. Open title on June 22
The winner will be crowned the USGA Virtual U.S. Open
Champion and will be a guest of the USGA at the 2010 U.S.
Open at Pebble Beach Golf Links in Pebble Beach, Calif.
A closest-to-the-hole challenge on WGT's virtual Bethpage
Black will be available starting April 13, on
for players to test their skills, before the Virtual U.S.
Open qualifying rounds begin.
"This is a unique opportunity for fans to experience a very
realistic online representation of the Black Course at
Bethpage State Park," said Alex Withers, USGA managing
director of Digital Media. "We are thrilled to be able to
bring this product to golf fans around the world and to be
working with World Golf Tour on this exciting project."
WGT has utilized its patented technology to bring Bethpage
Black to life online. First, nearly 100,000 high-definition
images were taken of the course from the ground and with
helicopters using precisely mapped GPS coordinates. These
images and additional data collected from the course were
then translated through WGT's proprietary physics engine to
enable players to virtually experience Bethpage Black within
a photo landscape. Championship tees and hole locations, U.S.
Open-quality rough and accurate green contours and speeds all
combine to make this the most realistic championship golf
experience ever offered online.
"Through WGT's association with the USGA, fans now have the
opportunity to get more involved in one of golf's four major
championships," said YuChiang Cheng, CEO of World Golf Tour.
"This opportunity is a strong step forward in demonstrating
the ability of WGT's platform to integrate live events with
an online experience. We are honored to be working with the
USGA to bring players the Virtual U.S. Open, with some of the
pressure and elation that the real competitors feel."
ABOUT WORLD GOLF TOUR
World Golf Tour (WGT) offers the most authentic online golf
experience, making the game of golf accessible and affordable
to all. With its patented no-install HD technology and
free-to-play social networking format, WGT enables players to
tour exclusive courses worldwide, learn the rules of the
game, test equipment, and stay connected with friends. WGT's
partner sponsors such as Pinehurst Resort and Kiawah Island
Resort provide exclusive luxury benefits such as premium
products, prizes and tournament purses. For more information,
About the USGA
The United States Golf Association is golf's governing body
in the USA and Mexico, a combined area that includes more
than half the world's golfers and golf courses. We are
passionate about, dedicated to and experts in the game of
golf. Based on a shared love and respect for golf, we
preserve its past, foster its future and champion its best
interests for everyone who loves, respects and enjoys the
Each season, we conduct the U.S. Open, U.S. Women's Open,
U.S. Senior Open and 10 national amateur championships,
including the U.S. Amateur and the U.S. Women's Amateur. The
USGA also writes and interprets the Rules of Golf, regulates
and tests golf equipment, provides research-based turf
management expertise, maintains the USGA handicap and course
rating system, celebrates the history of the game and
supports grassroots programs through its "For the Good of the