SBD/March 22, 2011/Media

Weekend Golf Ratings Continue Strong Start With Double-Digit Growth Over '10

The PGA Tour is averaging a 1.9 rating and 2.851 million viewers for its weekend telecasts on CBS and NBC through 14 windows, up 26.6% and 36.3%, respectively, from a 1.5 rating and 2.092 million viewers through the same point last year (12 telecasts) (Austin Karp, THE DAILY). Golf Magazine Senior Editor Mike Walker noted much of the ratings increase is due to Tiger Woods' return, since he "was on sabbatical for this part of the schedule last year." But Woods has played in just three tournaments this year -- making the weekend in just two -- and Walker wondered if golf has been "more exciting this year, or is the increase just a strange quirk (bad winter in the Northeast, weaker competition from other sports, etc.)?" Golf.com's David Dusek wrote if Woods and Phil Mickelson "can turn their games around, ratings could really jump." But SI's Michael Bamberger wrote he does not think "there's much Tiger effect at all." Bamberger: "The rating's are up because the golf's been so good, close to the end, with the contenders showing all sorts of range in terms of age and background and nationality and golfing style." SI's Damon Hack wrote he thinks the increase "speaks to Tiger's return, a bad winter and HDTV." Hack added the NBC-Golf Channel "synergy has probably helped ratings." Meanwhile, SI's Jim Gorant wrote the networks "like to shout about the increases, but when you look at the percentage increase and then calculate how many more viewers that actually translates to, you realize it's not that big of a difference." Gorant: "That means many small things can contribute, who's playing, how close it is, rain in some part of the country, start times, what else is on, etc." (GOLF.com, 3/20).

TOP TALKERS: GOLF WORLD MONDAY's Geoff Russell wrote Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee is one "personality who could improve" NBC's golf coverage. Chamblee since joining Golf Channel after losing his PGA Tour card in '03, has "demonstrated himself to be knowledgeable about the professional game, refreshingly outspoken and relatively unconcerned about who he might offend." Chamblee "has spent most of his career commenting from Golf Channel's studios in Orlando," and the "next step is to see if he can do the same compelling work ... as a member of NBC's tournament team" (GOLF WORLD MONDAY, 3/21 issue). Meanwhile, in St. Petersburg, Tom Jones noted NBC analyst Johnny Miller Sunday during the final round of the PGA Tour Transitions Championship showed "why there might not be a better sports analyst on television." Miller questioned runner-up Webb Simpson's club choice on the final hole before he "drove his tee shot in to the bunker and ended up with a bogey" to give Gary Woodland the win. Jones: "Miller called it before he had seen it. It doesn't get any better than that, folks. ... Anyone can tell viewers what just happened. The best in the business, however, can tell us why it happened, and, better yet, what is about to happen" (ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 3/21).
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