No Tiger, big problems.
Ratings for the 101st PGA Championship are in, and, well ... they’re not great.
Sunday’s final round, where Brooks Koepka put the finishing touches on a thorough destruction of the field that began from the moment he teed off on Thursday, ended with a 3.9 overnight rating, down 36 percent from last year’s 6.1.
Koepka also won last year’s tournament, but remember: that one had Woods in the mix right up until the final holes. This time around, Woods double-bogeyed his very first hole, and was never anywhere close to contention. He missed the cut and went home before the weekend.
This year’s mark is up from 2017’s 3.6, but still ranks as the third-lowest, after 2017 and 2008 (3.0) for the final round since at least 1995. Justin Thomas won the 2017 tournament, and Padraig Harrington won in 2008. Woods didn’t play in either event.
This marks the first time the PGA Championship has taken place in the more competitive sports month of May. Over the weekend, Sunday’s final round pulled lower ratings than both NBA conference final games; Saturday’s Warriors-Blazers had a 5.4, and Sunday’s Raptors-Bucks was a 4.5. Both were on cable — ESPN and TNT respectively — while the PGA Championship was on CBS. The Preakness Stakes, on NBC, ended with a 4.3 rating.
In the five most recent majors, last year’s U.S. Open — also a Koepka win, also without Woods in the final mix — was the only one to rate lower than the PGA Championship, at a 3.6. Last year’s British Open final round rated a 5.0, while last month’s Masters had a final round of 7.7. And you know who won that last one.
Granted, it’s worth remembering that unless you’re a network or Tour executive or you’re looking to buy commercial time, ratings have zero effect on your life whatsoever. Even so, they’re a good barometer of where the sport is at this point — and how much work golf will need to do to build an audience post-Woods.
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