Racing through The 149th Open
A sneak peek into a 4-day event that takes a year’s worth of work
The first months of this year went quietly, with people still working from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Slowly, one by one, we began to show up at the office. Things moved from online to offline. Teams reunited. The quiet was replaced with laughter, voices, and the click-clack of computer keyboards. By June, all the team involved in The 149th Open at Royal St George’s was up and running at full speed, getting ready for a 4-days of the championship for which we have been preparing, for a whole year.
Racing through 2021’s The Open
Racing is in our nature. We are redefining the game when it comes to excellence, dedication and work ethics. The Open is a huge construct, with thousands and thousands of details, components, and rules, each with a specific role to play. The highest level of accuracy is essential when delivering such an event. Besides the players and the fans, hundreds of people are involved daily in this event. And some are there months and months before it, getting ready to deliver an exceptional digital experience for The Open’s global fan base.
It is a powerful and intense feeling – being a super-operational team, ready to step in if needed to solve any issues in a matter of seconds, which could impact this worldwide event. At the most recent Open in 2019 (2020 cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic), numbers spoke by themselves – 7million unique visitors during the last playing of the Championship at Royal Portrush and 2billionn+ leaderboard requests across the four days of the event.
We are the pit crew
We’re the technical engineers. We’re the project managers. The testers. The developers. The architects. We are The Open’s pit crew.
For these 4 days, we will be covering everything digital – live scoring, live blogging, the virtual media center, live streaming and so on.
From dusk till dawn, we will make sure everything runs smoothly. We work on a cycle system, in shifts, so that the team catches up with a little bit of sleep and some rest!
We work on peaks; we breathe on lows. We are the pit crew, ready year after year to support golf history creating itself.
Between the peaks, there are lots of mixed feelings. Adrenaline raises up upon a predictable timeline, and, meanwhile, jokes and laughter kick in, just to take off the pressure. Silence then follows as people return to their tasks and positions, ready for that adrenaline and the (normal amount of) stress to build up again. The team maintains its focus and is taken care of by our two team leads, who are on call from the very first minute of this year’s The Open, ready to deliver essential news and coordinate the action.
During the 4-days event, the team is in the office each day a few hours before the first group tee off, to make sure all the systems are ready to go whenever the first scores come in.
Broadcasting is closely monitored and set up, as some information becomes available just a few minutes before the live streaming starts. Meanwhile, the different systems, machines and infrastructure are constantly monitored; to make sure the team is ready to scale up if necessary. Nonstop support for the website’s content team is also in the game; sometimes, the workload becomes too heavy during key points or other issues.
Event mode ON
For the 149th edition of The Open, the championship returns to Royal St George’s for the first time in a decade. This is The One. This is the first major and also the final major of the 2021 golf season. We are honoured to be part, yet again, of this amazing adventure – The 149th Open.