NBC's Final Round At The Players Tied For Event's Best Overnight In Over 20 Years
NBC earned a 5.7 overnight Nielsen rating for the final round of The Players Championship yesterday, which saw Tiger Woods win by two strokes over David Lingmerth, Jeff Maggert and Kevin Streelman for his first win at TPC Sawgrass since '01. The rating is tied with Woods' win in '01 as the best final round for the event since '91. The 5.7 overnight also is up 68% from a 3.4 overnight for the final round in '12 and '11, which saw Matt Kuchar and K.J. Choi win the PGA Tour event, respectively. NBC also earned a 3.0 overnight for Saturday's coverage, up 20% from a 2.5 rating last year. The third round this year also saw weather interrupt play from 4:15-6:00pm ET. Meanwhile, Golf Channel on Friday drew the net's most-viewed PGA Tour second round since last year's Players Championship. On Thursday, the net drew the event's most-viewed first round ever on cable TV, with records dating back to '95 (Austin Karp, Assistant Managing Editor).
MADE-FOR-TV FINISH: In Jacksonville, Jeff Elliott writes with three holes to play in the final round, the "smiles couldn’t have been bigger with NBC officials." Eight golfers were "within two shots at the top of the leader board, including the top two overall leaders" in Woods and Sergio Garcia. NBC "made it through the telecast without controversy" and ran a feature on golfer Len Mattiace and his "collapse in the 1998 Players when he hit two tee shots in the water" on the 17th hole of the final round when trailing by one shot (FLORIDA TIMES-UNION, 5/13). YAHOO SPORTS' Brian Murphy writes Woods and Garcia have "mutual hatred" for one another. To "have them tied after the third round, playing for the richest purse on Tour," PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem must have "cackled, rubbed his hands together and said to his secretary: 'Get me NBC on the phone … tell them 'The Ratings Meister' is calling'" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 5/13).
A SOLID PERFORMANCE: In Tampa, Tom Jones writes NBC "did a solid job ... as it always does." The broadcast team "mentioned the incident" on Saturday in which Garcia claimed crowd noise caused by Woods led to an errant shot, and the net "referred to the fact that Garcia and Woods don't get along, but it would have been nice if someone had been stronger in telling viewers who was in the right on this particular incident." Analyst Johnny Miller is "just sensational." Few analysts in "all of sports are better at telling viewers what is about to happen" (TAMPA BAY TIMES, 5/13). In Jacksonville, Garry Smits wrote NBC play-by-play man Dan Hicks is the "smoothest golf anchor around," while Miller is the "most unpredictable analyst around." He "kind of fits the course -- who knows what he'll say." Meanwhile, Smits wrote members of the print media "used to make fun of" the Golf Channel, but now "we rush to our hotel rooms or homes after deadline to watch 'Live At' and see what we missed" (JACKSONVILLE.com, 5/12).