SBD/September 20, 2013/Leagues and Governing Bodies

PGA Tour's FedExCup Playoffs Bring Strong Ratings In Midst Of Football Season

Woods thinks the points system adds excitement to the Tour Championship
The FedExCup Playoffs "have provided great theater," and have been a "great diversion from raking leaves for people already ardent about golf," according to Karen Crouse of the N.Y. TIMES. But are the playoffs "delivering a new audience to the game?" Golfer Jason Dufner said, "Golf fans are always going to watch golf no matter if football’s going on or not. But you’re going to have a tough time pulling guys away from watching their favorite universities, their favorite NFL teams, during this time of year. I don’t think us doing the playoffs really has that much of an impact on it.” Aided by a "late charge" from Tiger Woods, who finished one stroke behind winner Adam Scott, the final-round coverage of The Barclays, the first event of the playoffs, "earned a 3.7 overnight rating on CBS, up from 2.7 last year." Nielsen figures show the final round of the Deutsche Bank Championship, the next event, "had 3.2 million viewers on NBC," down 34% from '12, when the final round "was the most-viewed FedEx Cup telecast since 2007." Meanwhile, Golf Channel’s coverage of Jim Furyk’s second-round 59 at last week's BMW Championship "drew an audience of just under 1.1 million." Dufner said, “The guys that are into football aren’t going to pay too much attention to the playoffs, especially at the beginning of the year." Golfer Brandt Snedeker: “The last four weeks going up against the NFL, I think it’s our best product. I would like to think it is making a dent, because you have Tiger, Phil playing, and there are a bunch of different scenarios playing out this week that can really draw a viewer in" (N.Y. TIMES, 9/20).

POINTS SYSTEM PROVIDES VOLATILITY: USA TODAY's Steve DiMeglio wrote with the "volatility of the points structure, a player might not fully understand where he stands at any given moment during the playoffs." As has "been the case since the Tour changed the points system for the playoffs starting in 2009, theFedExCup playoffs prove that Yogi Berra was right -- it ain't over till it's over." Golfer Zach Johnson said, "It's not like you have to win every week to win that FedExCup, you've just got to win at the right times or play well at the right times." Woods said, "The first couple of years there was really no drama going into The Tour Championship. ... Now anybody that's in the top five at the Tour Championship, if they win, they automatically win the FedExCup. You're playing all year to be in the top five. That makes the Tour Championship exciting" (USATODAY.com, 9/18).
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