SBD/August 12, 2014/Media

PGA Championship Sunday Viewership Best In Five Years, Scores Big In Primetime

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 TREND
YEAR
NET
RAT.
VIEWERS (000)
WINNER (STROKES) RUNNER(S) UP
TIGER
'14
CBS
5.3
8,238
Rory McIlroy (1) Phil Mickelson
CUT
'13
CBS
3.8
5,536
Jason Dufner (2) Jim Furyk
T-40
'12*
CBS
3.4
4,900
Rory McIlroy (8) David Lynn
T-11
'11
CBS
4.1
6,110
Keegan Bradley (playoff) Jason Dufner
T-116
'10
CBS
4.3
6,510
Martin Kaymer (playoff) Bubba Watson
T-28
'09
CBS
6.6
10,100
Y.E. Yang (3) Tiger Woods
2
'08*
CBS
2.8
4,020
Padraig Harrington (2) Sergio Garcia, Ben Curtis
DNP
'07
CBS
6.2
9,165
Tiger Woods (2) Woody Austin
1
'06
CBS
7.0
n/a
Tiger Woods (5) Shaun Micheel
1
'05^
CBS
5.6
n/a
Phil Mickelson (1) Steve Elkington, Thomas Bjorn
T4
             

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).

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