ESPN's British Open Final Round Overnight Up 27% Over Last Two Years
ESPN earned a 3.3 overnight Nielsen rating for the 9:00am-2:30pm ET window of the final round of the British Open yesterday, marking the net’s best figure since the event’s weekend rounds moved to cable TV in ’10. The telecast, which saw Ernie Els capture his first major victory since ’02 with a one stroke win over Adam Scott, is up 27% from a 2.6 overnight for the same window last year, when Darren Clarke won by three strokes over Dustin Johnson and Phil Mickelson, and also a 27% gain compared to Louis Oosthuizen’s win by seven strokes over Lee Westwood in ’10. The final round in ’09, when it aired on ABC, earned a 3.9 overnight for Stewart Cink’s playoff win over Tom Watson. Meanwhile, ESPN earned a 3.0 overnight for coverage of the third round on Saturday, up 58% from last year. The net’s second round coverage was up 50% and first round up 22% (Austin Karp, THE DAILY).FAUX PAS: GOLFDIGEST.com's John Strege wrote ESPN's Paul Azinger helped make the coverage "interesting, not necessarily for the right reasons." Azinger "might be the best analyst in golf, but he did not make a compelling case on his own behalf during one 30-minute stretch in the final round." He "erred on the rules, called those on Twitter a 'bunch of clowns,' then doubled down by taking to Twitter to say it again, while using the hastag: #ToDumbToKnowTheirClowns." Strege: "It is inadvisable to call others dumb while using 'to' instead of 'too' and 'their' instead of 'they're.'" When Tiger Woods was "stymied in a bunker at the sixth hole" during yesterday's final round, Azinger incorrectly explained a tournament rule on dropping a player's ball. He then took to Twitter and "cited a rules official for his error." Azinger tweeted, "Ask RNA official about unplayable in bunker. He gave me wrong answer. It's been addressed and fixed on air" (GOLFDIGEST.com, 7/22). Meanwhile, USA TODAY's Scott Gleeson noted Azinger made an on-air apology Saturday "for accidentally having a smile on his face during an opening segment about the shootings in Aurora, Colo." ESPN's Mike Tirico "was talking about a ribbon on Brandt Snedeker's visor in a segue, but Azinger failed to transition" (USA TODAY, 7/21).