Hawk-Eye™ is an officiating tool, intended to assist human line judges by providing an impartial second opinion on close line calls. Hawk-Eye uses a series of computer-controlled cameras, up to ten in total, placed around the court to gather information on the speed and trajectory of the ball. Using triangulation or, in other words, by determining the location of a point by forming triangles to that point from other, known points and measuring the angles of the triangles, Hawk-Eye constructs an animation of the most likely path, statistically, of the ball.
If a player challenges a line call, the animation can displayed on a screen, which can be seen by everyone involved, including spectators, to remove any doubt about whether a ball has bounced in or out. Hawk-Eye uses an algorithm, or a series of computer instructions, to estimate where a ball should have landed but, while it is not infallible, it is accurate to within a few millimetres and approved by the ITF, which employs the technology in 80 tournaments worldwide.
Hawk-Eye technology was first employed in a tournament sanctioned by the International Tennis Federation (ITF) at the Hopman Cup in Perth, Western Australia and in a Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) and Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) Tour event at the Miami Open, formerly the NASDAQ-100 Open, at Key Biscayne, Florida in 2006. The U.S. Open, later in 2006, was the first ‘Grand Slam’ event to use Hawk-Eye technology.
The Wimbledon Championships were first staged at the AllEngland Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in Wimbledon, southwest London, in 1877. The inaugural Championships featured just one event, the Gentlemen’s Singles, which was contested by twenty-one amateur players, each of whom paid an entrance fee of £1 1s 0d, or a ‘guinea’. The tournament started on July 9, 1877 and the final was played ten days later after being postponed from the Monday to the Thursday because of rain. In a one-sided final, Spencer Gore, a 27-year-old rackets player, beat William Marshall, a 28-year-old real tennis player, in straight sets. Gore received a silver cup, donated by ‘The Field’ magazine, and 12 guineas in prize money.
The first Ladies’ Singles competition was not staged until 1884, by which time the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club had dropped ‘Croquet’ from its name to become, simply, the All England Lawn Tennis Club. The inaugural female champion was 19-year-old Maud Watson, who defeated her elder sister, Lillian, by two sets to one in the final. Miss Watson received a silver flower basket and 20 guineas in prize money.
Officially – that is, according to Guinness World Records – the longest drive ever recorded in competitive golf was 515 yards, achieved by the late Michael Hoke ‘Mike’ Austin during a qualifying tournament for the U.S. Senior National Open at Winterwood Golf Course, Las Vegas in 1974. Using an old-fashioned persimmon driver, Austin achieved a carry of over 400 yards and when his ball came to rest it was some 65 yards past the flagstick on the par-4 fifth hole.
However, unofficially, the longest drive ever recorded was an eye-watering 787 yards, achieved by Carl Hooper in the Texas Open at Oak Hills Country Club, San Antonio in 1992. Hooper used a metal driver, but a rudimentary model. Nevertheless, his tee shot on the par-4 third hole landed on a concrete cart path and began a protracted journey to a spot behind the twelfth green, some 300 yards beyond his intended target. The general consensus was that the ball had travelled at least 750 yards from the third tee and his caddy worked out the yardage as 787 yards.
Conventional wisdom dictates that cricket derives from the ancient game of ‘club-ball’, although it is unclear whether the latter was a specific game, or a generic term used to describe a variety of folk-games – all of which involved hitting a ball with a stick – which were popular in Medieval England. Similarly, the name ‘cricket’ is believed to derive from the Middle French word ‘criquet’, meaning ‘goal post’, and came into usage during the Norman Period.
What is better known is the history of cricket from the mid-fifteenth century onwards. During the reign of Elizabeth I, in 1598, Surrey county coroner John Derrick testified in court to playing a game known as ‘creckett’ on a plot of common land in Guildford while a pupil at the Royal Grammar School, formerly the Free School, fifty years earlier. Certainly, by the early sixteenth century, cricket was well established throughout the home counties of England, including Kent, Surrey and Sussex. The first reference to a ‘great match’, an eleven-a-side affair for fifty guineas, was recorded in Sussex in 1697 and, just over a decade later, in 1709, the first recorded inter-county match, between Kent and Surrey, was staged.
Other landmark dates in the history of cricket include 1744, when the Laws of Cricket were first issued by the London Club, and 1788, when the Laws of Cricket were revised by the newly-formed Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC). For the record, the first Test match took place between Australia and England in Melbourne in 1877, with the home team winning by 45 runs.