Given the incredible final round drama and exciting playoff finish in this year's Masters, it was a surprise to see Masters overnight ratings down 22%. The golf world proclaimed Bubba Watson, his homemade swing, shotmaking ability, and likeable personality to be a rising star in the game. That may be true in due time, but his playoff victory over Louis Oosthuizen provided the lowest Sunday rating number since 2004, posting an 8.0 national rating for Sunday's coverage. The Masters found slightly better news in terms of overall viewership, with 13.5 million viewers on Sunday. That's still down from 15.3 million viewers last year, and is the lowest since 2008, but doesn't reach the low since 2000 - 11.7 million viewers in 2003. Here are the Augusta ratings since 2000, both with the national rating and average million viewers for Sunday, weekend totals, as well as the tournament champion...
|Year||Sunday Rating||Sunday AVM||Weekend Rating||Weekend AVM||Champion|
Considering Phil Mickelson was in contention on Sunday and paired in the final group, it could have been thought that the rating would come closer to matching the 10.7 from 2010 (more on that in a second). Alas, Mickelson's presence on the leaderboard, a double eagle, one of the best shots in Masters history, and a playoff couldn't overcome the dominant ratings factor in not just golf, but all of sports.
The more things change in golf, the more they stay the same. Ratings are all about Tiger, even for the most prestigious tournament in the world. This week proved to be an interesting case study in that regard. ESPN touted their ratings increases for Thursday and Friday coverage, but CBS was left with large decreases in their weekend coverage. In fact, Saturday's coverage lost almost a quarter of its viewership from last year while ESPN picked up more than double digits for Rounds 1 & 2...