SBD/January 28, 2013/Media

CBS To Air Rare Weekday Golf Coverage As Tiger Tries To Wrap Up Win At Torrey Pines

Woods finishing around 5:30pm ET atop the leaderboard could be a ratings boon
CBS earned a 3.7 overnight Nielsen rating for Sunday's coverage of the PGA Tour Farmers Insurance Open, which saw Tiger Woods maintain a lead after three rounds of play. Coverage yesterday was primarily of the third round due to fog cancelling play on Saturday. The 3.7 overnight is up 85% from a 2.0 overnight for the final round on Sunday last year, which saw Brandt Snedeker win in a playoff against Kyle Stanley. Woods did not play Torrey Pines last year. The 3.7 overnight is also on par with the final round from '11, when Bubba Watson held off Phil Mickelson and Jhonattan Vegas for the victory. Woods' last win at the event in '08 drew a 4.6 overnight for the final round (Austin Karp, THE DAILY).

UNUSUAL CIRCUMSTANCES: In California, Mark Whicker notes a Monday finish for a PGA Tour event ordinarily "would happen as early as possible to let everyone else get on with life.” But CBS is “intrigued with showing Tiger's 75th PGA Tour victory," so play will begin at 2:10pm ET and Woods "will finish at about" 5:30pm. PGA Tour VP/Rules & Competition Mark Russell said, "CBS is our broadcast partner. If this is what they want us to do, this is what we're going to do." Golfer Nick Watney said, "Starting at 11 [PT] is a little strange. When we finish, it's not even going to be prime time on the East Coast” (ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER, 1/28). In San Diego, John Maffei writes the “general feeling is that Monday's conclusion” of the tournament “wouldn't be on CBS if, say, Brad Fritsch were leading.” Networks “usually have local programming leading into evening news shows.” So Woods “figures to provide a nice lead into the news.” Golfer Billy Horschel, who played with Woods yesterday, said that he and Woods “talked about possible start times” yesterday. Horschel said, “Tiger has a big effect on TV times, and it’s justified with what he’s done in his career. We figured it would be up to the network executives” (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 1/28). GOLFWEEK.com's Sean Martin wrote the move is "all about television." CBS "will show the tournament's conclusion" and there is "little question the desire to televise Monday's finish was based on the man atop the leaderboard" (GOLFWEEK.com, 1/27). But GOLF WORLD MONDAY's Geoff Shackelford writes the late finish is "super for golf fans because it means bonus coverage by both Golf Channel and CBS." The late start "also lets the tour and networks find out just how many office workers will watch their online streaming coverage." A PGA Tour official called the move decided on Sunday morning "unprecedented" (GOLF WORLD MONDAY, 1/28 issue).

LOST IN THE FOG: In Tampa, Tom Jones writes CBS’ luck “went from really good to simply awful on Saturday.” The net was “supposed to kick off its 2013 PGA coverage and it caught a huge break when ratings giant Tiger Woods took a two-shot lead going into Saturday's third round.” But the first day of CBS' golf season was “wiped out because of dense fog.” So CBS “dusted off the broadcast of a 2011 tournament and aired that instead on Saturday.” Jones: “Why not use these weather delays to introduce viewers to up-and-comers on the PGA Tour and, perhaps, viewership wouldn't fall off the cliff whenever Woods doesn't play or isn't in contention” (TAMPA BAY TIMES, 1/28).
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