The Masters is underway, and golf's elite now battle for the hallowed green jacket. If you've got 3D-capable gear, we're here to tell you how to make Augusta pop—and why golf (!) might be the thing that finally justifies that hardware.
How to Watch
If you've got a 3DTV, requisite glasses, and subscribe to ESPN 3D (available on AT&T U-Verse, Comcast, DirecTV and Time Warner Cable), you can tune in there for extra-dimensional coverage of the links:
Thursday and Friday's Tournament action airs from 5:30-7:30 p.m., with Saturday and Sunday's telecasts from 5-7 p.m.
Or if you've got a computer capable of 3D-output (a big if, at the moment) Masters.com has you (partially) covered—they're several hours of the tournament online for free, in 3D:
Thursday 7 April 2011:5:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.
Friday 8 April 2011:5:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.
Saturday 9 April 2011:5:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.
Sunday 10 April 2011:5:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.
IE or Firefox are noted as the necessary browsers—you'll have to see if that's a staunch requirement.
Why to Watch
You may not like golf. You may not be particularly sold on 3DTV. But if the platform's going to be anything more than a gimmick birthed from James Cameron's trillion dollar wet dream, the humble game of golf might be what does it.
Other sports have been broadcast in 3D before, most notably last year's World Cup, but few make as much sense—or, really, seem as perfect for three dimensions—as golf.
First: the terrain. Geography, elevation, flora—none play so significant a role in any other sport, and to see them rendered with depth is just plain visually gratifying (especially in beautiful Augusta!).
Depth also kind of rules the game of golf. It's about distance. How far can you drive the ball? How closely can you putt? An augmented sense of depth and perspective in your display immerses you in the very challenge that underpins the game itself—it's hard to say the same thing about soccer, or football.
Golf is also (usually) an individual viewing experience, as opposed to, say, the Super Bowl, or March Madness, which lend themselves to packed living rooms (and a lot of money needed to don each fan in a pair of 3D shades). Watching 3D golf is cheap! Another big plus? Viewing angles! Without a bunch of people crowded around the screen, you don't have to worry about the subpar (hiyoo!) video quality you often run into when you're looking at a 3D display from an awkward angle.
And finally, the ball. So much of the game is about following that ball as it sails through the air. Golf's draw certainly isn't its pace, but seeing that little sphere get whacked with such power is pretty great—and we all know that there's little as thrilling as seeing a ball fly at your face in 3D.