There have been reports of doom and gloom in regards to golf TV ratings at the four major tournaments in 2017.
According to Sports Media Watch:
Final round coverage of The Masters earned a 7.6 overnight rating on CBS Sunday afternoon, down 11% from last year (8.5), down 21% from 2015 (9.6), and the lowest since 2004 (7.3). The previous low over that span was a 7.8 in 2014.
The numbers were even worse this past weekend for the PGA Championship.
Final round coverage of the PGA Championship earned a 3.6 overnight on CBS Sunday afternoon, down 8% from last year (3.9), down 29% from 2015 (5.1), and the event’s second-lowest final round overnight since at least 1995. It tops only 2008, when coverage aired opposite the Olympics. Since hitting a 6.0 three years ago, final round overnights have declined in each successive year.
Most will point to the Tiger Woods effect and say that if Tiger doesn’t play then people don’t watch.
Golf was around long before Tiger and survived based on the star power of the likes of Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Lee Trevino.
Today’s game is littered with ridiculously talented young stars like Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Dustin Johnson and Hideki Matsuyama but the numbers say that the general public simply isn’t interested in watching them.
ESPN reporter Darren Rovell took a poll on his Twitter account this week that received almost 15,000 votes. Here are the numbers.
POLL RESULTS (14,000+ VOTES): 1 in 3 say they didn't watch the golf majors this year because Tiger wasn't playing. pic.twitter.com/mgS8NOXL1q
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) August 15, 2017
ESPN now includes digital platforms in most of their ratings reports which include online streaming for their coverage of NCAA football and basketball.
Perhaps it is time for the PGA to follow suit.