Midway through the first round of the 2019 British Masters at Hillside Golf Club, a pair of spectators behind the 16th green were musing on the unusual sight of conspicuously busy youngsters on each and every hole. Wearing backpacks and constantly tapping information into hand-held tablets, they were scurrying after balls, forever on the move, and often in communication with some distant authority via headsets.
After debating a few increasingly colorful options, the two observers settled on their original notion. “A university field trip,” they concluded, before one added rather tartly: “Because they can get a degree in anything these days, so why not chasing golf balls?”
In point of fact, those backpackers were actually involved in the test stage of an innovation that would, metaphorically at least, take the statistical arm of the European Tour (as it then was known) from horse and cart to Lexus in one fell swoop.
Previously reliant on the flawed and limited insight which traditional stats provide, sports betting data busine...
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