Better than Tiger

A robot just sunk a hole-in-one on the PGA Tour

About a week after beating a supposedly unbeatable board game, robots are now turning their attention to a game you’ve actually heard of: golf. LDRIC, a robot named after Tiger Woods’ birth name (“Eldrick,” phonetically), knocked in a hole-in-one on the 16th hole of the Waste Management Phoenix Open in Scottsdale, Arizona on Wednesday.

Right after LDRIC’s winning shot, the green was showered with beer cans, which may at first seem to be a desperate attempt by golf fans to stave off the robot uprising, but is in fact how fans celebrated when Italian golfer Francesco Molinari got a hole-in-one on the same hole last month and when the actual Tiger Woods famously sunk a hole-in-one in 1997 at the same spot.

LDRIC, short for Launch Directional Robot Intelligent Circuitry, was created by pro golfer Gary McCord and Golf Laboratories, a company that builds robots to test out new golf club designs. It can hit the ball up to 130 mph—about 5 mph faster than the the real Tiger can hit—and duplicate any players’ swing. If LDRIC is anything to go by, it may well be that before we have leagues of fighting robots, or racing robots, we’ll have robot golfers. Robot grandparents everywhere will be thrilled.

It’s worth noting that this robot isn’t prefect yet: LDRIC hit that hole-in-one on its fifth try (possibly making that a double bogey), according to ESPN. Considering some of the most advanced robots in the world have trouble opening doors without falling over, it might still be a while before the PGA accepts another Eldrick onto the tour.

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