By Matt Pepin
In no particular order, here are five sports apps I have come to rely on to embellish the experience of following sports. All of these are official apps produced by either governing bodies or event organizers, and all were tested on an iPad.
PGA Tour HD (pictured at right): The live scoreboard alone makes this a perfect second-screen experience when watching golf. There's no more waiting for television to flash 6 or 8 leaders, or following that confounding scroll across the bottom of your TV. You can get them all in one spot, customize a leaderboard for your favorite players, and search the complete list. The app's live Twitter feed, abundant video that includes playing action and interviews, and player index are better than having Johnny Miller next to you on the couch. (available for iPad and Android)
On a side note, the Masters 2012 app was the best individual-event app I've encountered yet.
NCAA March Madness Live: The free version provided scoring updates and in-depth stats on all the games. For $4, you could watch every game of the 2012 NCAA Tournament, and that was worth it for the first two days of the tournament alone. Remember, bringing an iPad to a meeting looks like you're working, and the games start at noon in the first round. (available for iPad; was not available for Android)
NFL: This app updates based on what's happening in the league. During the season, its focus is obviously on games, but I was pleasantly surprised when it flipped over to focus on the draft in April. (available for iPad and Android)
Watch ESPN: Despite having several televisions, I find myself watching SportsCenter using this app all the time, whether it's on the deck on weekend mornings or at a coffee shop. The best part may be no commercials -- the screen simply carries a message, and when sound resumes, you know it's time to look again. This does have to be connected through your account with a television service provider, but initial setup is quick and easy. (available for iPad and Android)
NHL GameCenter: You can customize your experience for your favorite team, but still see plenty of really compelling content from around the league without digging too deep. The video library is top-notch even in the off-season, and the news feeds are up-to-date, something not all apps can boast. (available for iPad and Android)
Honorable mention: NBA Courtside (iPad only), MLB At-Bat (iPad and Droid versions)
Five to forget: Kentucky Derby, Euro 2012 (the official one is only an iPhone app), NCAA Sports (iPhone only), MLS, Wimbledon (iPhone only).