USGA Head Says Organization Not Worried About Low Ratings For U.S. Open
USGA President Tom O’Toole said the organization was not worried about the low ratings that the final round of the U.S. Open generated, noting it has “strategic initiatives … to bring more people to the game." Sunday’s coverage of Martin Kaymer’s eight-shot win earned NBC a 3.3 overnight rating, the lowest mark on record. But O'Toole said, "If we're going to be good leaders, we're going to be concerned about the game's health. But golf is cyclical. If you look at golf over the last 100 years, it cycles with the economy. The economy we hope is back on an upturn." Wall Street Journal Sports Editor Geoff Foster said another factor contributing to declining TV ratings and participation is there is a "whole generation, the under-35 crowd, that's just not connecting with the game." Foster added having a "star" in the game "will definitely help." Foster: "Tiger Woods is the sole reason those ratings are so bad. ... They do need another star" ("Varney & Co.," Fox Business, 6/16).
FINAL CRITIQUES: GOLFWEEK’s Martin Kaufmann notes U.S. Open viewers were told that last weekend’s coverage on NBC “began at noon Eastern Time,” but that is when the pregame show started, with “occasional look-ins during the first hour.” Kaufmann: “If you want to air a pre-game show, fine. But make that clear to viewers.” Kaufmann added even after the net "shifted entirely to live coverage Sunday, I was struck by the lack of flow before the leaders teed off.” The coverage continually was "interrupted by interviews with PGA Tour and LPGA players, highlight packages, sponsored segments, features, a Jimmy Roberts essay, NBC promos,” and the “obligatory interview” of USGA President Glen Nager. Kaufmann: “Don’t overthink it, NBC. Whittle it down to stuff (promos, etc.) that you have to run, and keep the focus on live action” (GOLFWEEK, 6/20 issue).