Tiger's Win Helps CBS To Solid Masters Rating Despite Early Start
Tiger Woods’ win at The Masters yesterday, his first victory in a major in 11 years, delivered CBS a 7.7 overnight rating from 9:00am-3:00pm ET. That figure comes despite the final round start time being moved up several hours due to the threat of weather. The 7.7 rating is the best figure for any live morning golf telecast since at least ’86, but down from an 8.7 last year, when it aired in its normal afternoon window (2:00-7:00pm). By having such an early start, the level of houses-using-TVs yesterday for CBS was down 21% compared to what the Sunday levels were last year. This year’s final round also peaked at a 12.1 rating from 2:15-2:30pm, while last year peaked at an 11.0 from 6:45-7:00pm for Patrick Reed’s one-stroke win over Rickie Fowler and Jordan Spieth. Woods finished 32nd last year. The top market for live coverage this year was Greenville-Spartanburg at a 13.8 local rating. For taped coverage of The Masters on CBS from 3:00-7:00pm, the net drew a 3.4 overnight rating (Austin Karp, THE DAILY).
STAYING OUT OF THE WAY: The AP's Joe Reedy notes CBS' Jim Nantz, along with Coordinating Producer Lance Barrow and Dir Steve Milton, in the moments after Woods' victory "did a great job of letting the images of Woods celebrating with his family tell the story." Nantz was "silent for 2 minutes, 42 seconds between the time he said, 'the return to glory' after Woods sank his putt on the 18th hole and his family accompanying him back to the clubhouse." Barrow also "had the clip of Tiger hugging his father Earl" after the '97 Masters "ready to go once the moment presented itself" (AP, 4/15). In L.A., Tom Hoffarth writes the "back-to-back video replays" of Woods hugging his father and then hugging his son, Charlie, in the same spot provided an "emotional, masterful punctuation for CBS’ coverage of the weekend" (L.A. TIMES, 4/15). THE ATHLETIC's Richard Deitsch wrote letting Woods' celebration play out without commentary was the "best production decision CBS made all day and always the wisest for any memorable sports broadcast." The scenes of Woods "celebrating on the course, then hugging his family and friends, needed no narration." The images and crowd noise "told the story." Barrow said, "We didn’t start jamming in replays or start showing other things. It is tempting at times but you have to make sure the moment plays out and the moment played out" (THEATHLETIC.com, 4/15).
NICE CALL: Media observers on Twitter were quick to praise Nantz and CBS as well. ESPN’s Kevin Van Valkenburg wrote: “Nantz catches hell often for his occasional cheesiness, but the fact that he said nothing here for over 2 mins and just let the moment speak for itself is wonderful.” Cleveland-based WKRK-FM’s Daryl Ruiter: “Why Jim Nantz is the best. Not a word for at least 3 mins after Tiger sank that putt.” The N.Y. Post’s Andrew Marchand: “I liked Jim Nantz' final call on Tiger. Great moment. Nantz is solid on NFL and basketball, but he is at his best on golf.” However, the Toronto Star’s Bruce Arthur wrote of the green jacket presentation, "Nantz, trying to evoke tears in Butler Cabin, finally just quietly, earnestly stabs Tiger in the thigh with a dinner fork.” SI’s Andrew Brandt: “Maybe Rinaldi can draw tears. Nantz tried, Tiger wasn’t going there” (TWITTER.com, 4/14).
NOTHING TO SEE? AWFUL ANNOUNCING's Matt Clapp noted some Hulu Live and DirecTV Now subscribers "were blacked out from seeing" some of yesterday's final round telecast (AWFULANNOUNCING.com, 4/14). Meanwhile, ESPN said that a "'truck transmission issue' caused the network’s second-round broadcast ... to go to black briefly Friday." Announcers apologized for the issue that "did not impact coverage on assorted online feeds" (GOLFWEEK.com, 4/12).
LIKE IT NEVER HAPPENED: YAHOO SPORTS' Dan Wetzel noted a security guard during the second round Friday on ESPN "slipped and nearly took out" Woods when his right knee "clipped Tiger’s right heel as Tiger watched his second shot on the 14th hole." However, fans "wouldn’t see it again" on CBS. The net "never replayed the clip during its nearly five-hour live broadcast of Saturday’s third round," even when Woods "was back on the 14th hole." The "most likely scenario is that CBS was doing what it could to not draw extra attention to an incident that Augusta National is unlikely to find all that amusing or worth reliving." It would "continue a long-standing tradition of the Masters dictating what it wants its broadcast partner to show and how it wants things described" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 4/14).