Opportunity of a lifetime granted by scholarship

Otago Polytechnic Te Pūkenga students and twins Sam (left) and Hudson James-Everton have been...
Otago Polytechnic Te Pūkenga students and twins Sam (left) and Hudson James-Everton have been working at Animation Research Ltd, providing graphics for the recent US PGA Players Championship, in Florida. PHOTO: GREGOR RICHARDSON
Forget about scoring a hole in one.

Twins Sam and Hudson James-Everton reckon they have gone one step better.

The 22-year-old Otago Polytechnic Te Pūkenga students have been working as graphics operators on the recent United States PGA Players Championship, in Florida.

The work experience is part of a new scholarship created specifically by Dunedin company Animation Research Ltd, to help cover the duo’s master of applied science studies at the polytechnic.

While getting up at 4am is not usually in the realms of fun for tertiary students, Sam and Hudson believe it is an opportunity of a lifetime to work on one of the most prestigious golf tournaments in the world.

So getting up early is easy.

The self-confessed "sports geeks" said they were in that "pinch yourself" zone, where they had managed to combine their academic interests and knowledge with elite real-world experiences.

The scholarship might be a world away from the millions of dollars of prize money pocketed by Players Championship winner Scottie Scheffler this year, but the brothers welcomed the scholarship boost because it gave them flexibility to juggle work and study.

Animation Research Ltd senior sports producer Angus Reid said the duo’s work had been "outstanding".

"They have gone from interns to very capable graphics operators in a short space of time.

"They will both continue to work for us as they complete their master’s at Otago Polytechnic.

"Sam has already taken up some cricket work with us over the summer and Hudson went away in January to the United Arab Emirates, where he covered another golf event.

The brothers were "very promising", Mr Reid said.

Otago Polytechnic’s Institute of Sports, Exercise and Health head Hayden Croft said the scholarship provided an opportunity to be trained in aspects of sport animation production, building graphics for courses, loading animations live during sports matches, and setting up and using technology to make it all work.

Sam and Hudson said the experience was showing them another side of sport.

"Things have moved at a rapid pace over the last several months and, at the moment, I am just taking every opportunity to soak it all in," Sam said.

"I’d like to build on the foundations and relationships that have got me to where I am now.

"Hopefully, this will lead me to further successes within the field of professional sport — whether that’s on the sidelines or producing world-leading graphics for a broadcast."