Tuesday October 3, 2023

PGA Championship’s Audience Drops 21% For Final Round

  • An injured Tiger Woods dropped out after 3rd Round.
  • Defending champ Phil Mickelson withdrew before the tournament.
Michael Madrid-USA TODAY Sports
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October 3, 2023 | Podcast
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Big names generate big golf ratings. With Tiger Woods or Phil Mickelson missing in action, TV audiences sank for CBS Sports’ final-round coverage of the PGA Championship.

CBS averaged 5.27 million viewers for Sunday’s final round, according to Sports Media Watch

That’s down 21% from the 6.6 million average viewers who watched the 50-year-old Mickelson become the oldest winner in major tournament history last year.

It was the PGA Championship’s lowest-rated final round since 2008, according to SMW.

The TV prospects for this year’s tournament weren’t helped when Mickelson withdrew before the tournament due to his scandalous comments about Greg Norman’s Saudi-backed breakaway tour.

But the real dagger for viewership came when an injured, limping Woods pulled out after shooting a 79 for Saturday’s third round.

With no Woods on the course Sunday, viewers were left with relative unknown Mito Pereira leading most of the way — until he imploded on No. 18, paving the way for eventual winner Justin Thomas. 

Thomas’ three-hole playoff victory over Will Zalatoris took the tournament into overtime. That helped CBS’ Sunday TV numbers.   

The network averaged 9.06 million viewers during the 45-minute playoff, according to SMW. The audience peaked at 9.34 million between 7:15-7:30 p.m. ET.

Attention will now shift to NBC Sports’ and USA Network’s upcoming coverage of the 2022 British Open from historic St. Andrew’s golf course in Scotland. Barring injury, Woods has committed to play, which is good for NBC.

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