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NORMAN'S RUN FOR JACKET HELPS CBS EARN SOLID RATINGS
Published April 12, 1999
CBS's broadcast of the final round of The Masters earned an 10.7/21 overnight Nielsen rating, up 8.1% compared to last year's 9.9/26. Saturday's third round coverage scored a 5.9/15, down 15.5% compared to '98's 6.9/19 (CBS). THE NORM-AN SHOW: Many media critics review CBS's treatment of Greg Norman in his run for the Green Jacket. In Toronto, Rob Longley writes that CBS, following Norman's "collapse" in the final round of the '96 Masters, "wanted to heal that pain so badly it made the Shark the irresistible bait to hook viewers for its coverage." Longley notes that CBS "spent so much energy" setting up a Norman win, that when he fell back in the later stages, "the life was sucked right out of the telecast" (TORONTO SUN, 4/12). In Boston, Jim Baker calls Jim Nantz "over-syrupy" in claiming Norman "did not lose" this title, as he did in '96 (BOSTON HERALD, 4/12). In Cincinnati, John Fay writes that as Norman began to slip, "no one on CBS ... questioned whether Norman was wilting under the pressure." But Fay calls CBS's camera work "flawless" (CINCINNATI ENQUIRER, 4/12). In Calgary, Jim Taylor writes that CBS "dropped back into funeral mode at the agony" of Norman faltering: "Why is it that the golfing media -- and television in particular -- can't handle the trials of Greg Norman with the class and aplomb of Norman himself?" (CALGARY SUN, 4/12). STRONG PRODUCTION: In Houston, David Barron notes that despite some questions over the amount of coverage CBS is allowed to show, the net did provide viewers with live coverage of 14 of 18 holes with the last group (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 4/12). In Atlanta, Prentis Rogers writes that the "brisk tempo of moving from shot to shot" by Producer Lance Barrow and Director Steve Milton was "first rate" (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 4/12). USA TODAY's Rudy Martzke writes that while CBS "is back, challenging Emmy-nominated NBC for TV golf supremacy," it did commit "some bogeys," as "too many cliches still aired" (USA TODAY, 4/12). In Richmond, Jerry Lindquist: "It is borderline hilarious how reverently CBS treats this annual event. It is, after all, only golf" (RICHMOND TIMES-DISPATCH, 4/12). In Toronto, Chris Zelkovich writes that The Masters "stands out as one of the greatest sporting events ... so why does CBS believe it has to hype this event so much?" Zelkovich: "These guys don't just gild the lily, they cover it in diamonds and add a few layers of varnish for good measure" (TOR. STAR, 4/12). MASTERS OF THEIR DOMAINS: Augusta National Golf Club Chair Hootie Johnson said the club would not "relent" on its policy allowing CBS to show only three hours of final round coverage. Johnson: "We like the way it is. It works, and our ratings are good. All the feedback we get from fans all over the world is very positive, and we like the presentation the way it is" (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 4/10). A N.Y. TIMES editorial on Saturday said that "there are many reasons" to watch The Masters, adding that the "best reason is to see what televised sports should really look like, when money is not the only object" (N.Y. TIMES, 4/10). MASTERS NOTES: The Masters announced a purse total of $4M, with the winner receiving $720,000. The purse is surpassed by only five other events on the PGA Tour -- the four World Championship events and The Players Championship, all of which have $5M purses (CNNSI.com)....Titleist runs a full-page color ad in USA TODAY congratulating Olazabal on his win (THE DAILY)....As of Friday PM, The Masters' official Web site, www.masters.org, was averaging 238,000 hits per minute. The previous busiest Web site ever monitored by IBM was the Nagano Winter Olympics, which had 110,000 hits per minute (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 4/10).