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Rory McIlroy's one-shot win over Phil Mickelson in the PGA Championship delivered CBS an average of 8.24 million viewers during the final round, marking the event's best Sunday telecast since Y.E. Yang defeated Tiger Woods in '09. The audience was up 49% from 5.54 million viewers last year, when Jason Dufner won by two strokes over Jim Furyk. The 8.25 million viewers also is up 68% from McIlroy's eight-stroke win in '12. Sunday's telecast began late and ran two hours into primetime (7:00-9:00pm ET). That two-hour window averaged 11.98 million viewers and would have ranked as the top program in primetime among all shows on TV last week. The 11.98 million viewers also was 18% higher than the No. 2 primetime program audience last week (Austin Karp, Assistant Managing Editor).
PGA CHAMPIONSHIP FINAL ROUND AUDIENCE TRENDYEARNETRAT.VIEWERS (000)
WINNER (STROKES) RUNNER(S) UPTIGER'14CBS5.38,238 Rory McIlroy (1) Phil MickelsonCUT'13CBS3.85,536 Jason Dufner (2) Jim FurykT-40'12*CBS3.44,900 Rory McIlroy (8) David LynnT-11'11CBS4.16,110 Keegan Bradley (playoff) Jason DufnerT-116'10CBS4.36,510 Martin Kaymer (playoff) Bubba WatsonT-28'09CBS6.610,100 Y.E. Yang (3) Tiger Woods2'08*CBS2.84,020 Padraig Harrington (2) Sergio Garcia, Ben CurtisDNP'07CBS6.29,165 Tiger Woods (2) Woody Austin1'06CBS7.0n/a Tiger Woods (5) Shaun Micheel1'05^CBS5.6n/a Phil Mickelson (1) Steve Elkington, Thomas BjornT4
CHART NOTES: * = Up against Summer Olympics. ^ = * = The final round of the '05 tournament was suspended at 6:30pm ET due to inclement weather and concluded on Monday.
FILLING TIGER'S VOID: Denver Post columnist Woody Paige said Sunday's final round "proved people will watch golf even if Tiger Woods is not involved," as McIlroy has "brought a new emphasis to golf." L.A. Times columnist Bill Plaschke said, "For the first time ever I watched the finals of a major and I thought, 'I don’t miss Tiger.' That's a big deal for golf" ("Around The Horn," ESPN, 8/11). Golf Channel's Tripp Isenhour said, "Golf’s in good hands even though Tiger Woods wasn't there." Isenhour: "Everybody has been saying golf is kind of not necessarily where it was. When you see a tournament like we saw (Sunday), it reminds us when the best is up there on the leaderboard, it doesn’t matter. People are going to come and they’re going to watch it and they’re going to watch some great shots.” Golf Channel’s Tim Rosaforte added, “I thought this one took it to another dimension. I thought it resurrected it among the mainstream sports. Sports fans showed there was some life, some buzz. Some eyeballs on it” (“Golf Central,” Golf Channel, 8/11). ESPN's Jason Whitlock said McIlroy "has a chance to take the baton from Tiger and carry golf." Whitlock: "We were so worried where the interest was going to come from with Tiger playing poorly and perhaps seeing the end of his career. I woke up Sunday morning almost as excited, like Tiger was going to be playing that day." ESPN's Michael Wilbon said it is "going to take an ensemble" to get to the levels Woods brought the game, as McIlroy "by himself is not going to do it." Wilbon: "He can be better than Tiger, but he's not going to have the Tiger effect on the business of golf" ("PTI," ESPN, 8/11). ESPN's Dan Le Batard said McIlroy "can't be Tiger even if he's as good as Tiger, even if he's better than Tiger, because he's not a novelty and he's not a pioneer." ESPN's Bomani Jones said if Woods was playing, "my mom watches that tournament." Jones: "She didn’t watch this" ("Highly Questionable," ESPN2, 8/11).
KEEPING THE EYE ON THE BALL: GOLFWEEK's Martin Kaufmann writes when the leaders began play on Sunday following a lengthy rain delay, CBS "shocked me by telling the story in a pleasingly understated fashion." The golf was "spell-binding, and CBS thankfully resisted its instincts to create a narrative." There were "some hiccups," including the decision to air a highlight package of Phil Mickelson "after only three holes." Kaufmann: "But by and large, CBS surprised with an unusually capable effort" (GOLFWEEK, 8/15 issue).
NFL Network scored with Johnny Manziel’s first NFL action, as Saturday’s Browns-Lions preseason game set records as the highest-rated and most-watched preseason game in the network’s 11-year history. The game drew a 1.8 rating and 2.82 million viewers, beating out the '07 Saints-Steelers HOF game (1.3 rating, 2.07 million viewers) as NFL Net's best audience on record for a preseason game. Manziel played during the 2nd and 3rd quarters of Saturday’s game. ESPN will broadcast the Browns’ game next Monday against the Redskins. ESPN's best NFL preseason audience remains QB Brett Favre's first game with the Vikings in '09. That Texans-Vikings game drew 7.92 million viewers (Austin Karp, Assistant Managing Editor).
PAT ON THE BACK: Thursday's Patriots-Redskins preseason opener drew 519,300 viewers on Boston-based WBZ-CBS, up 5% from last year's opener against the Eagles. The game generated a 13.8 local rating, the most-watched preseason opener among males 25-54 since '02. Overall, Patriots-Redskins ranked among the top three most-watched opening preseason games since '02 (Patriots). Meanwhile, in Milwaukee, Bob Wolfley noted WTMJ-NBC's telecast of Packers-Titans on Saturday was "the most-watched TV program in the Milwaukee market over the weekend." The game earned a 16.6 local rating, "which means over 152,000 households in Milwaukee tuned to some portion of telecast" (JSONLINE.com, 8/11).
DON'T POKE THE BEAR: The CHICAGO TRIBUNE noted Friday's Eagles-Bears game on Chicago-based WFLD-Fox "included a long stretch during the first quarter in which viewers couldn't ... view the game because of a scrambled feed." But Bears Senior Dir of Corporate Communications Scott Hagel said the problem "was an encoding issue in our uplink truck," and "wasn't a WFLD problem" (CHICAGOTRIBUNE.com, 8/9).
BROWN OUT: In N.Y., Bob Raissman reported James Brown has "decided not to return" as host of Showtime's "Inside The NFL." NFL execs have insisted on having a "big name" to replace him and have targeted NBC's Dan Patrick. But this is a Super Bowl year for NBC, and network execs "want to keep their talent exclusive to them." CBS had "already been pushing" Greg Gumbel for the job, and "once Patrick was out, the NFL threw its support behind Gumbel." But even with Gumbel and analyst Phil Simms "on board, there is still likely a huge hole in the 'Inside the NFL' cast" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 8/10).
NBC Sports and Universal Sports for the first time will offer coverage of the Youth Olympic Games. NBC Sports will offer 24.5 hours of competition from Nanjing, China, beginning with the Opening Ceremony on NBCSN on Saturday. NBCSN will offer 21.5 hours of coverage, while there will be three hours of coverage on NBC. NBC Sports' Josh Elliott, who left “GMA” to join NBC in earlier this year, will serve as a studio host throughout the coverage. Universal Sports, which is majority owned by Leo Hindery’s InterMedia Partners, will air 30 hours of coverage. NBC and Universal Sports will feature sports such as beach volleyball, gymnastics, swimming and track & field. This is the second Youth Olympic Games, which features athletes ages 14-18. The first was held in '10 in Singapore. NBC Sports' coverage is part of the '11 TV rights agreement with the IOC. NBC Olympics President Gary Zenkel in a statement said, “Our presentation of the Youth Olympic Games is part of our long-term commitment to the Olympic movement. This unprecedented level of coverage will allow viewers to witness the benefits of Olympism on the youth of the world, and catch a glimpse of young athletes who may star in future Olympic Games.”
As a rain delay sent the final round of the PGA Championship late into Sunday evening, and Rory McIlroy secured his fourth major championship in the dark, I poked around in the 10-month-old PGA Tour mobile application. With scores, schedules, video, news and more, the app successfully brings PGA Tour information to mobile. It falters, however, in its inability to offer live scoring. According to the PGA Tour, the delay is due to a feed restriction by the PGA of America. Can't we all just work together for the benefit of the fan? PGA Tour for iPhone is an ad-supported free download developed by Omnigon and Double Encore. This review was conducted on an iPhone 5 7.1.2, with AT&T LTE service.
ON PAR: The app delivers content in a sleek interface with a leaderboard in the prime position. Tapping on a golfer provides an individualized scoring summary, scorecard, a full golfer profile and a quick summary of the golfer’s most recent stroke. The scorecard section is a highlight, offering a hole-by-hole shot trail that includes detailed play-by-play of each shot. The app also provides groupings by round, tee times and the status of each group. A graphical rendering of the course -- in this case Kentucky's Valhalla Golf Club -- shows each hole, its par, length and difficulty, and statistics like a par performance summary, scoring average, longest drive and closest to pin. There is a large, searchable library of video that is updated regularly with highlights, interviews and other relevant features. Golfers can be favorited for a more personalized experience, and the app provides access to their Facebook, Twitter and Google+ accounts. A feature called #FANPERKS gives users the ability to purchase event upgrades, tournament memorabilia like caddie bibs and other behind-the-scenes experiences.
BOGEYS: The app's 15-second pre-roll ads run quite a bit; on nearly every other video. While this is admittedly a lighter ad hit than similar apps, it is still too heavy. Elsewhere, the #FANPERKS section is hidden in the dropdown menu and deserves more exposure. For avid fans and tournament attendees, the social feature is a compelling reason to download the app, and should be more prominently displayed. Another gripe is that photo galleries did not function properly at times. But the biggest disappointment of the PGA Tour app was the slow-to-update leaderboard. The dramatic end to the tournament was unfortunately not felt in the app, with final scores updating 15 minutes after the final putt. This is hard to swallow for score-seeking users, and almost renders the app useless. The PGA Tour said that due to the PGA Championship being run by the PGA of America, all feeds outside of PGA of America apps were delayed by 15 minutes. This week, as in all weeks except the majors, real-time feeds updating every 30 seconds will resume in the app.
BOTTOM LINE: PGA Tour for iPhone is very well designed, and functionality is smooth. For accessing tour information like video, news and course maps, the app is excellent. Users can follow the live action using the app's ShotLink technology and watch highlights soon after they occur, but without real-time scoring updates during key live events, users are more than likely to jump to another source. This is unfortunate because the overall experience is very well done. The app gets two stars from users in iTunes, with reviewers citing the slow-to-update leaderboard. But correct the scoring issue, and this is a four-star product.
Amie Sheridan (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a freelance writer in Philadelphia.
See Sheridan's previous App Review submissions for THE DAILY:
- IndyCar 14 For iPhone A Joy To Drive, But Only For Verizon Users
- Ticketmaster For iPhone Makes Buying Easy, Has Few Shortcomings
- Tour De France For iPhone Offers High Gear, But Could Use A Tune-Up
- Wimbledon For iPhone Serves Great Content, But Quirky Interface
- Ubersense Keeps It Simple For Athletes Looking To Improve Skills
Red Sox Owner John Henry said of his role as owner of the Boston Globe, "I don’t get involved at all with baseball coverage. That would be completely inappropriate. I did get involved in pushing for Score, which was a standalone NFL section we created. ... I’d like to see more coverage of the Revolution because I think they are becoming a more important part of the community. Soccer is becoming more important as evidenced by the reception Liverpool received here this year. But I haven’t said anything to our editor or sports editor." He added, "Since the deal closed I have not initiated a single discussion on the Sox, Liverpool or baseball" (BOSTON HERALD, 8/10).
SECRET AGENT MAN: In California, Michael Lev writes NFL agent Leigh Steinberg's new talk show, launching next Monday on Yahoo Sports Radio, "provides another platform for him to get the word out." The show will "dive into the deep end of the sports world, examining issues such as NCAA reform, concussions and domestic violence." Steinberg said, "These issues come up every day. Hopefully we can give fans a behind-the-scenes look at the concepts that are operating here" (ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER, 8/12).
MOUNTAIN CLIMBING: In Denver, Dusty Sanders wrote former MLBer Ryan Spilborghs "has shown a deep knowledge of the game" on the Rockies' pregame and post game shows on Root Sports, while "biting his tongue as he strains to be critical." Sanders suggests the Rockies "put Spilborghs into the broadcasting booth before the season ends to give him experience under difficult circumstances." Sanders: "I'm not advocating firing any of the current trio." But putting Spilborghs into the booth "might spur fan interest in the sinking Rockies" (DENVER POST, 8/11).
WHAT'S IN A NAME: THE BIG LEAD's Jason McIntyre cited sources as saying ESPN's "Numbers Never Lie" is "changing its name to 'His & Hers' this fall, probably in September." The name change is a "direct result of the podcast success of the NNL co-hosts, Jemele Hill and Michael Smith." The success of that brand "convinced ESPN brass to scrap the show’s original name," which dates back to '11 (THEBIGLEAD.com, 8/11).