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Tiger Woods’ Tour Championship win delivered a big ratings boost

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Perhaps not surprisingly, with a 5.21 overnight rating, the final round of the Tour Championship was the highest-rated (non-major) PGA Tour telecast of 2018.

Tiger Woods’ 80th PGA Tour win was the highest-rated broadcast in FedEx Cup history, with viewership was up 206 percent compared to 2017.

Golf’s big Sunday followed an impressive Saturday. As Golfweek’s Martin Kaufmann noted

“In the TV-ratings world, a mediocre football game typically drubs even some of the PGA Tour’s biggest events. Yet during Saturday’s third round, with Woods in the final group, NBC’s coverage of The Tour Championship drew more viewers than every college football game except the Alabama-Texas A&M game. Because, as we all know, nobody beats Alabama – not even Tiger Woods.”

Across NBC Sports Digital’s platforms, Sunday’s final found saw 18.4 million minutes streamed (up 561 percent year-over-year).

“Tiger Woods’ win at the TOUR Championship was an unforgettable event in golf,” said Mike McCarley, President, Golf, NBC Sports Group. “The massive gallery following Tiger up the 18th fairway was matched by record viewership across NBC Sports’ platforms. Golf is experiencing a surge in momentum with Tiger and the young stars of the Tiger-inspired generation atop leaderboards. We look forward to this momentum continuing this week at the Ryder Cup.”

Woods has boosted ratings every time he’s teed it up this season. At the British Open, where Woods tied for sixth, ratings were the highest in 18 years. Similarly, PGA Championship ratings were the highest since 2009.

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2 Comments

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  1. jacksmiths

    Sep 26, 2018 at 11:30 pm

    Do many golfers mix and match brands of clubs? As a newbie, I’m hoping that the G30 driver will suit me as I bought the G30 irons and would like a matching set purely for aesthetics.
    I appreciate your input!

  2. orin

    Sep 26, 2018 at 3:11 pm

    Meanwhile… back in Wash. D.C. Judge Kavanaugh and his family are being pilloried and punished by man-hating man-bashing leftist feminist activist liars!!!

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Brooks Koepka can’t stop defending major titles

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All right, it’s only two, but its two-consecutive PGA Championships…on the heels of two-straight U.S. Open titles. Thanks to the PGA moving up three months, he kinda-sorta has both doubles at the same time.

Brooks Koepka fought the golf course, his swing, the competition, and the self-inflicted pressure that he strives to minimize, and came out a winner. His margin of victory over workout pal Dustin Johnson was two strokes. Johnson had his chances but failed to capitalize. Can you fault him? If you had told him on Wednesday that he would be the only man to shoot all four rounds in the 60s, he might have anticipated a trophy at week’s end. Not to be. Despite a sequence of stumbles, Koepka parred the odd 18th hole and earned his sixth PGA Tour title and fourth major championship.

Here are five reasons he did it.

5. Dustin Johnson might be a one-off major winner, after all.

What they said couldn’t be done, was in Johnson’s grasp. Koepka’s apparently-insurmountable, 7-shot advantage had withered to 2 mere blows, and the man responsible for the winnowing was Dustin Johnson. The man from Myrtle was 3-under on the day, and stood a mere 12 feet from a 4th birdie at the 10th. Behind him, Koepka was even for the day, and about to birdie the 10th hole from 2 feet. Johnson missed, then bogeyed the 11th. What if DJ had made his birdie, and the roars had erupted. Would Koepka have stuffed his ridiculous, 160-yard lob wedge for a kick-in birdie? Probably not. DJ had to be perfect on Sunday, and when he most needed the endurance and the mental fortitude, both were lacking.

4. Koepka survived

I’ve played BPB and I’ve watched my high school golfers compete on it during New York state federation play. It is as difficult as you saw today. One bad swing leads to a bad hole, and it might lead to a run of four bogeys, as Koepka had on holes 11-14. He bogeyed a par five! He bogeyed a flip-shot par three!! He then turned around and parred the two most difficult holes of the closing stretch. Despite another bogey on his nemesis, the 17th, Koepka had enough wiggle room to limp home with par for a 2-shot victory.

3. Koepka elevated his game when needed

There was a point when the lead was down to one stroke, but if not for this shot, Koepka and Johnson would have been tied. The champion knew the adrenaline he was feeling, which explains the ludicrous thought that a gap wedge would fly 158 yards in the air. It did, and the ball settled two feet below the hole at the 10th. No matter what was happening in front of him, Koepka was about to shave a stroke from par. Golfers who choke a tournament away never make shots like this one.

2. Despite this…

I don’t have any words to describe this exchange. Your guy is trying to win a major, and somehow, it seems to be about you?

1. Karma

Doing a kind thing when you least need to do a kind thing, leads to Shivas, the god of Irons, smiling down on you.

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PGA Championship: 5 things we learned on Saturday

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Day three at Bethpage promised to differ from the first 48 hours of the 2019 PGA Championship. With a halved field and no 10th-hole tee times, odds of missing your tee time were reduced, even for David Lipsky. Brooks Koepka began the day with a 7-stroke lead, but the chance to chase him down depended on one of two scenarios playing out.

The first demanded similar course conditions to days one and two. In that situation, someone would shoot 63 or 64, hoping Koepka remained at par or higher. Conditions were different, as the wind picked up and then swirled, sending a higher number of tee shots into the rough and beyond. As for the second, well, it required Koepka to balloon to a mid- to high-70s score, allowing a score anywhere below par to make up ground. Neither one happened, and Koepka left the state park with the same lead as he had 24 hours prior. We still learned quite a bit on Saturday, so have a look at the 5 most important things we learned on Saturday at the 2019 PGA Championship.

5. New names made their presence known

Ardent followers of professional golf have read about Jazz Janewattananond, Harold Varner III and Luke List, but until today, none had made a dent in the first page of a major professional event. Each sits at -5, tied with Dustin Johnson, seven blows behind Koepka. Varner will accompany Koepka on the Sunday march, but all four of the minus-fives will play either for 2nd spot, or the coveted “If Koepka should falter” trophy.

4. How do you come from THAT far behind?

Simply put, you need to make six birdies at least, get to 9 or 10 under par, and pray for rain. Koepka’s swing looks like it’s here to stay. He doesn’t get tired physically, and he isn’t under the weather. Yesterday, I predicted that Matt Wallace would hit more shots like this one. I stand by that prediction, and expect Wallace (at -4) to be the only one of the chasers to give Koepka a run. Wallace is playing for the same sort of legitimacy as the leader. Koepka wants to be a part of the conversation for best golfer in the world; Wallace wants to be much more than an afterthought when Ryder Cup 2021 comes around. Sunday will put the Englishman in another class.

3. Spieth and Scott went quietly away

No one likes to foretell doom and gloom, unless they go by the name of Bran Stark. It is someone’s job to predict such things in golf, and the team of S and S shared the cloak of most likely to play above par on Saturday. The Jordan Spieth who gutted out the 2015 US Open at Chambers Bay was not present today. The Adam Scott who played through the rain to defeat Angel Cabrera in the 2013 Masters playoff was also unavailable. Bethpage is a big, brawny golf course. With the exception of Lucas Glover in 2009, it rewards big, brawny golfers.

2. Is Bethpage a boring place to play a major championship?

I don’t think so, but I’m not convinced that this was the best set-up for it. If the PGA likes birdies, tell me how they went from 10 billion birdies in the event’s first half, to quite a few less on day three? Something changed, or perhaps the course caught up with the conditions. There is a lot of thick rough out there…why? Increase fairway width by 10%, so that balls that barely miss, have a chance at redemption. Move the tee markers up on number six and make it a drivable par four for at least one round. Do the same on number eighteen, just for one day on the weekend. If Koepka is on his game for day four, anticipate a nice time for a long nap.

1. Will Brooks Koepka seal the deal on Sunday?

All signs point to Yes, and major championship number four, and possibly the blessing of Pope Brandel of Chamblee. However, we did see a few flinches on Saturday, and we would like to mention them here. To begin, his putting distance control was erratic. Did you see that first putt on 17, from 20 feet? The one that went 75% of the way to the hole? Brooks made his share of 5-feet putts today, but if the distance control gets weird tomorrow, and the short putts start spinning out, well then… Another area of concern was driving. He can’t be perfect, but with the big stick in his hands at all times, the big miss might be coming. If BK goes wide right or left and makes a big number, the confidence might be shaken.

All right, I’m searching for a needle in a haystack of straws at which I’m grasping. Got that? It’s a double metaphor, because a double metaphor is what is needed to keep Koepka from holding PGA and US Open trophies for the 2nd consecutive cycle.

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PGA Championship: 5 things we learned Friday

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Don’t worry, we’ll get to him. You have to be patient. Some interesting stuff happened at Bethpage Black on Friday, but doesn’t something always go down in metro?  Some late stumbles ensured that the plus-fours would see the weekend in a competitive fashion. Not talking knickers, mind you, but the guys who shot 72-72. All right then, enough with the musings, on with the 5 things we learned on day five of this week.

5. El Gato Con Rayas won’t be winning the Slam this season

Tiger Woods had history with BPB, doncha know?! Some things have a due date, an “it’s not you, it’s me” moment. 2k19 was that for TDubs and the Black. He fought, mind you. He birdied his 27th hole, but that was followed by 4 boges in 5 holes. He didn’t have his A nor his B game this week, so he didn’t walk away a beaten man. Just as well, as that guy who just wants respect went low again, opening up a 7-stroke lead at the halfway point. So that you know, I’ll take bets on Eldrick bagging either the U.S. or British Open championships. He’s coming out of 2019 with 16 majors, bank on it.

4. Three of your teachers made the cut

There are 3 shields on the leader board, and they will be there until Sunday. Marty Jertson, Rob Labritz and Ryan Vermeer stood tall as Friday dusked. They looked at their loved ones and said, simply, “I can’t believe it; I did it. I made the cut.” No matter what happens over the next two days, this triumvirate might as well be named Vardon, Taylor and Braid. They showed the golfing world that fellows who work a day job in golf, can prepare and perform at the level of the world’s finest touring professionals. Cheers to you, gentlemen.

3. Spieth and Scott are done; Wallace is your man

Despite this prank, or perhaps because of it, Matt Wallace is my pick to overtake Burger King and win the 2019 PGA Championship. If you can hashtag a chip on someone’s shoulder, Wallace has had a massive one since he was snubbed by Thomas Bjorn last fall for the Euro Ryder Cup team. The Englishman made 6 birdies on day two, and shows no signs of stopping. He’ll make 8 birdies on Saturday, mark my words. That should send a signal flare that even BK notices. Oh, Jordan Spieth and Adam Scott? They had their day of glory. They’re done.

2. They might be workout bruhs, but…

…enough is enough. DJ was poised to be the schizz until BK said “?Habla usted back-to-back US Open?” He’s now on the cusp of B2BPGA, and that’s something that the golfer currently known as Paulina’s will not stomach. Not with brother Austin in his bag. Not with all of South Carolina pulling for him. Johnson won’t be paired with the leader on Saturday, so he’ll have to make some noise on the first 4 holes to get muscles’ attention. He can do it, but can he sustain it? This weekend, he will.

1. How did this guy get an invite, again?

Just messing with you, B to the K. This guy epitomizes values: goes overseas to meet new people and learn the game the hard way; works his arse off in the gym to get large and fit; shows no fear when faced with adversity and greatness. I can’t promise I never dissed Brooks Koepka in previous pieces, but man, he sends a message. 7 birdies each day. 0 bogies day 1, 2 bogies day 2. If he keeps making buckets of birdies, t’ain’t no one gonna catch him. Here’s to you, Brooks, and whatever choice of swimwear is yours, today. Records? They nice.

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