SBD/August 13, 2012/Media

PGA Championship Overnight Down From '11, But Up From '08 When Against Olympics

Rory McIlroy's early lead may be cause for lower ratings during TNT's coverage

CBS earned a 3.9 overnight Nielsen rating for the final round of the PGA Championship yesterday from 2:00-7:30pm ET, which saw Rory McIlroy win by eight strokes. That figure is down 9% from a 4.3 overnight for the event’s final round last year, which saw Keegan Bradley defeat Jason Dufner in a three-hole playoff. Compared to ’08, when the tournament aired against coverage from the Beijing Games, the 3.9 rating is up 30% from a 3.0 rating for Padraig Harrington’s two-stroke win over Ben Curtis and Sergio Garcia. CBS yesterday had to compete with London Games coverage on NBC which earned a 6.0 overnight from 12:30-6:00pm for coverage highlighted by the Gold Medal finals for men’s volleyball, men’s water polo, freestyle wrestling and rhythmic gymnastics. CBS’ coverage of the final round peaked during both the 4:30-5:00 and 5:30-6:00pm windows. West Palm Beach topped all markets for CBS’ coverage yesterday with a 7.4 rating, followed by Greensboro (7.2) and Greenville-Spartanburg (6.9). CBS earned a 2.3 overnight for coverage on Saturday from 2:00-7:00pm. However, due to weather, only coverage from 2:30-5:00pm featured actual live play, with that time period earning a 2.7 overnight (Austin Karp, THE DAILY).

EVERYTHING GOING AGAINST CBS: In Tampa, Tom Jones writes it was a "tough weekend for CBS as a triple whammy sabotaged its weekend coverage." In addition to airing opposite the final weekend of the London Games, inclement weather "cut short a good portion of Saturday's third round." Tiger Woods fell off the pace Saturday, a "trend that continued into Sunday's fourth round." Meanwhile, McIlroy "ran away from the pack and cruised to an easy victory." Jones: "I'm not a fan of CBS's overly sappy and cheerleading golf coverage, but the network was dealt a rotten hand" (TAMPA BAY TIMES, 8/13).

HITS AND MISSES FOR TNT: GOLFWEEK's Martin Kaufmann noted TNT yesterday during its final-round coverage ran a "retrospective of the late Jim Huber's essays." Huber died earlier this year, and Kaufmann wrote, "I recall criticizing Huber's interviews with players, but I do miss his essays." He added it was "genuinely touching to hear" TNT's Ernie Johnson and Vince Cellini remember Huber. Johnson said, "You'd hear one [of] his essays and think, 'Why couldn't I think of that.'" Cellini choked back tears "while sharing a story about ... a handwritten letter Huber sent him in 1999 after the death of Cellini's father" (, 8/12). Meanwhile, in N.Y., Phil Mushnick wrote TNT's early-round coverage "often demanded -- we had no choice -- that we cease paying attention to the major that was being played to pay attention to tweets." The net at one point Thursday "abandoned coverage to post a tweet, one sent by Dan Marino, who apparently was in the gallery." Mushnick: "For every tweet seen and addressed, a live shot of a contender hitting a shot in the PGA Championship was missed" (N.Y. POST, 8/12).
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