GDC 2010: World Golf Tour Partners with USGA for Virtual Competition

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    Online videogame publisher offers videogame golfers a chance to win real-world prizes

    World Golf Tour partners with USGA
    Playing virtual golf just became more realistic. The United States Golf Association (USGA) has entered into a long-term relationship with online high-definition golf destination World Golf Tour (WGT), putting golf on the forefront of technology and marketing innovation in the sports industry. YuChiang Cheng, CEO of WGT, talks about this new deal as well as the technology behind this golf simulation in this exclusive video interview.

    In this relationship, the USGA recognizes WGT as the exclusive platform provider for its virtual golf championships. Each year, the USGA and WGT will co-host a Virtual USGA Championship, enabling fans to experience “the toughest test in golf” in real time via the USGA Web site, where an official champion will be crowned. Last year’s winner, Wayne Stopak, won a trip to the 2010 U.S. Open as a guest of the USGA.

    In 2009, the USGA and WGT co-hosted the inaugural Virtual U.S. Open, which attracted hundreds of thousands of players from more than 180 countries. It also helped drive record visits to USOPEN.com, which provides real-time scoring updates, exclusive live video coverage and a multitude of other features designed to bring the U.S. Open alive online.

    “Last year’s Virtual U.S. Open exceeded expectations on all fronts: fan engagement, fan feedback, Web traffic to USOPEN.com and sponsorship involvement,” said Alex Withers, the USGA’s managing director of digital media. “Our partnership with World Golf Tour not only allows fans to get a greater understanding of the world-class courses hosting our national championships, but it also provides our sponsors with exposure to a highly engaged audience of golfers.”

    Following the success of the Virtual U.S. Open in 2009, WGT will host the 2010 USGA Virtual Championship at Oakmont (Pa.) Country Club, which has hosted 14 USGA championships and will host another in 2010, the U.S. Women’s Open. The 2010 USGA Virtual Championship will be available to fans at www.usga.org and via the championship Web site at www.uswomensopen.com.

    In addition to the USGA Virtual Championship, WGT will develop a tribute to historic moments in golf which took place at Pebble Beach. WGT and the USGA will recreate famous shots made during previous U.S. Opens hosted at Pebble Beach so that fans can experience and truly understand the skill involved. These will be featured in the “Course” section on USOPEN.com.

    “This partnership validates WGT as the leader in integrating virtual sports with live sporting events, providing strong real-world value to sports organizations and their sponsors,” said Cheng. “From day one, we set out to bring high-quality virtual golf to the masses and grow the game of golf. It‘s an honor to have the USGA look to us to bring golf’s most challenging courses to the world for enjoyment.”

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