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Ribbons in the Sky

One of the best things about ESPN’s coverage of The Open Championship is its enhanced use of “Flight Tracker,” the blue line that follows the live flight of the ball. It’s so cool to see how much the ball curves at Muirfield, whether due to the wind or the player’s swing. It's also very practical since the ball seems especially hard to follow in flight at The Open against the treeless Scottish sky. The graphic is possible through the technology of German firm Trackman and its briefcase-size Doppler radar unit that many of the best teachers and club fitters use these days. (It doesn’t come cheap, with units costing about $30,000.) ESPN only had it set up on a few holes at this year’s Open, but hopefully it will be able to use more and more in years to come as the graphic really improves the telecast. Just imagine how cool it would have been in the era of balata balls when golfers could really curve it?

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