Fans everywhere join the fun via social media
By John Kim, PGA.com Coordinating Producer
KIAWAH ISLAND, S.C. -- Few things can capture the anticipation, excitement and drama of a major championship in golf. But social media can. And of course, it does.
Through the eyes of live video streams, television, media writers and broadcast analysts, we get a strong overview of what's going on. But through the crowd-sourced eyes of social media, we get a comprehensive look at any significant event. And for the PGA Championship, it's turning out to be a great show.
Let's check out how social media viewed and reacted to Day 1 of the 94th PGA Championship.
An early start on this Thursday brought out great hopes and anticipation from fans coming to the course and fans viewing worldwide. One photo, posted via our Twitter and Facebook of the famed Wanamaker Trophy sitting on the first tee brought out plenty of enthusiastic responses.
Garth Lindstrom: "GO TIGER WOODS!"
Ross Goulding: "COME ON RORY!"
Doug Gaunce: "Time to put it all together Mr. Fowler!"
It was obvious that thousands of fans were eager to see the start of the season's final major championship.
It was also a time for fans to ask pertinent questions regarding our coverage. Several expressed frustration that television coverage did not start until the afternoon -- until they learned via our social channels that PGA.com would be streaming live coverage beginning at 8:00 a.m. ET.
And so soon after play started, the PGA.com featured group did start to stream. The marquee pairing of Tiger Woods, Keegan Bradley and Martin Kaymer brought out thousands of responses on our social media channel -- in fact, Tiger Woods (not surprisingly) led all PGA Championship related tweet topics according to our PGA.com Social Caddy. In fact, Woods had nearly double the number of tweets that the second-highest ranked player received, former PGA Champion John Daly.
Some examples off of Twitter include:
Chase Hawkins @ChaseHawkins1 - tiger woods is about to go hard #pgachamp
Michael Schmitz @SchmitzMichael1 - I am waiting for the day when I wake up during the first round of a major and Tiger Woods is like -16 under. #PGAChamp
And from Facebook:
Sergio G Flores - "Go Tiger!!"
Noor Saleh Yes: "Go Tiger"
Ben Stanley "Go Tiger Woods:
These are but a sample of scores and scores of fans rooting on the most visible golfer in the world. And there were thousands expressing themselves on Twitter alone.
But it's certainly not to say that other golfers didn't have support online. Far from it.
One of the day's biggest surprises was the resurgence of 1991 PGA Champion Daly. Twenty-one years after his shocking win at Crooked Stick, Daly is still one of the biggest draws in the sport and having him near the top of the leaderboard after one round was enough to get his legions of fans fired up for one more run. In fact, when we generically asked for people's favorite moment from Thursday, Daly's name organically came up and dominated the conversation.
Zachery Moffitt: "Daly 4 under. How awesome for the man from Arkansas."
David Cheetah Brown: "Daly is back! Enough Said!!!!! Go get them John!!!!!!"
Kevin J Walsh: "JD having a solid round at the PGA."
And even Joost Luiten, the Dutch player who at one point was 8 under and threatening to run away, drew various and plentiful praise (and questions) via Twitter and Facebook.
Scott MacLeod @Flagstick
"Queen of Hearts singer leading PGA Championship? Incredible. Ohhh...Joost Luiten...I thought they said Juice Newton. My bad."
Jeff Hartsell @Jeff_fromthePC
"Media center panic: Who is Joost Luiten? He's at -5 and leading #pgachamp"
Actually, Jeff was right. Until Luiten bogeyed his final four holes of the day. The panic then subsided.
Such was similar support for crowd favorites Rory McIlroy, Graeme McDowell, Phil Mickelson and Ernie Els. Those of course, were to be expected.
Even more, other social media sites were abuzz with #PGAChamp content. Sites perhaps not normally associated with golf fans -- until now.
On Google Plus, fans such as Shawn Medeiros expressed their support: "Would love to see Tiger get it done."
On Instagram, several unique photos proved popular, including a visit from South Carolina Se. Lindsey Graham to the PGA.com broadcast booth.
On Viddy, 15-second video clips were 'liked' by users as they saw behind-the-scenes footage of our broadcast booth and large alligators swimming in a lagoon off the first fairway.
Even users on Pinterest shared their favorite photos of the championship.
The #PGAChamp hashtag was ubiquitous and gaining momentum. And this is just Day 1.
People use social media in a variety of ways, but the PGA Championship's embrace of its power and scale shows a championship that is as much about the story told as it is the story that plays out. A big "thank you" to everyone who posted a comment, liked a post, sent a tweet or pinned a photo (or any other social media action) that made them a part of the story here at Kiawah.
We'll see what new perspectives and collective opinions form over the next three days as well.