SBD/February 14, 2012/Media

Viewers Left With Gap In Pebble Beach Coverage Due To College Hoops On CBS

Golf Channnel had to leave golf tournament as Woods and Mickelson faced crucial putts
There was a "30-plus minute window during" the final round of the PGA Tour AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am Sunday when the tournament was not on TV, and CBS' decision to run college basketball coverage "right up to the start of the golf tournament is a problem that needs to be rectified," according to Jonathan Wall of YAHOO SPORTS. Following Golf Channel's early-round coverage, the net "went back to the studio at 2:30 p.m. ET to kill time before CBS came on the air at 3:00 p.m." But the Michigan-Illinois college basketball game went over its allotted time slot on CBS. There were "two minutes left in the contest when 3:00 p.m. rolled around, which meant viewers were stuck wondering what the heck was going on for almost 50 minutes." Golf Channel "gave a couple of live look-ins and some updates, but for almost an hour, viewers were stuck getting updates from the studio and Twitter." Wall wrote, "The big question is why didn't CBS allow the Golf Channel to show coverage right up until the college basketball game was over?" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 2/13). GOLFWEEK's Martin Kaufman wrote because of its contractual obligation, Golf Channel had to "leave a great story right as it was starting to percolate." It was following a "made-for-TV pairing of Phil Mickelson, who had just reached the par-5 sixth in two, and Tiger Woods, who had an eagle putt." But Golf Channel "had to sign off before viewers saw Mickelson make his eagle and Woods his birdie" (GOLFWEEK.com, 2/13). Golf Channel Senior Dir of PR Dan Higgins said, "We have very specific rights on the weekends, especially when CBS produces the tournament." CBS Sports VP/Communications Jen Sabatelle said, "We can't control the length of the basketball games. We still had over three hours of coverage of golf." She added that the half-hour is "necessary to prepare the transition from Golf Channel to CBS" (GOLFDIGEST.com, 2/13).

LOCAL LOVE FOR MICKELSON: In San Diego, Tod Leonard notes the ratings in San Diego for the Pebble Beach tournament were "even higher than those nationally for the 40th career win by Mickelson, an area native and Rancho Santa Fe resident." KFMB-CBS saw a 7.2 local rating for Sunday's final round, compared to KGTV-ABC earning a 1.9 for the Bulls-Celtics game. In contrast, this year’s Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines "drew a 2.9 local rating against the NBA, which garnered a 3.1" (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 2/14).
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