How data analytics can help Team Europe win this year’s Ryder Cup

When it comes to combining sports and data, few have been doing it for as long as the PGA European Tour, who started collecting data in 1972. However, big changes are coming on the data front, with a new system that is due to go live in early 2020.
GlobalData’s technology editor Lucy Ingham asked Michael Cole, chief technology officer of the Ryder Cup and European Tour about how this collection of data can help Team Europe win this year’s Ryder cup.
Cole tells GlobalData: “We will be collecting in the region of 15 data points for every player on every hole and taking that data and feeding it into the systems in real-time. And that will equate to around about 700,000 data points
“It’s the derivatives and the stats that you derive from those data points, which means that we will have the ability to generate literally millions of stats per tournament.
“Our opportunity is how we make that data purposeful. We’ve already created in the region of 30 to 40 different use cases in terms of taking that data, transposing that data from insight into intelligence, and then repurposing it for different audiences, which could be spectators, it could be commentators, the media, it could be clients and – in practice – all of those.
“Whether it’s on an individual basis or whether it’s on a team basis for something like the Ryder Cup, the players are starting to recognise the power of data analytics and what it can mean to their game.
“The younger players are embracing technology in a far more engaging way; they recognise what it can do to their game. In fact, Danny Willett, when he won the Masters in 2016, attributed part of that success to technology because he was getting performance analytics and that was helping him to analyse his own game.”
Performance analytics also helped Team Europe win the Ryder cup in 2018.
Cole reveals: “For Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjørn [2018], we created a dashboard for him which was based around the performance of the players before they were selected for the team and that enabled him to gain a degree of insight that better enabled him to choose his best team, particularly for his final four picks. And that continued into the Ryder Cup.
“So we continue to use data analytics and to create that captain’s dashboard. And that in fact allowed Thomas to determine what his pairing strategy was for the Ryder Cup.”