Hawkins on Ratings Decline

John Hawkins looks at the dismal PGA Tour ratings with his latest blog entry:

The first four months of 2006 did not bear good news for the PGA Tour in terms of its popularity with television viewers. Figures published in the most recent issue of Street & Smith’s SportsBusiness Journal indicate some frightening drops in TV ratings. The Shell Houston Open, for example, had a Sunday audience about one-third smaller than in 2005. There were double-digit decreases (10 percent or more) at the first three events on the Florida Swing, a whopping 56.3-percent decline at the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic and a 50-percent loss at the season-opening Mercedes Championships.

February’s AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, a tournament once capable of attracting five million viewers, checked in at about 2.5 million on Sunday, down 37.5 percent from a year earlier. Not every tournament’s numbers were off. The Players Championship actually rose almost 32 percent, but there’s a catch—rain delays in ’05 forced NBC to televise live third-round action that Sunday.
So you're thinking, he's going to point out how the juiced up power game is not relatable to fans, course setups are not producing more consistently exciting finishes and that the Tour has left too many classic venues for contrived ones?
The PGA TOUR has not downsized enough and it is going to have to become leaner and meaner to survive.

I say bring back "blood and guts" competition to the PGA tour as played by Ben Hogan, Sam Snead, a young Arnie, Gary and Jack and other great players when men were men as well as golfers.

When men were men as well as golfers? Oh lordy. Still, he's headed to the old bring shotmaking back argument? Nope.

Cut the number of tour cards to a max of 100, cut the number of players in the field to 100 and cut the cut to the top 50 and ties.

Put some damn fire back into the competition and maybe golf will be interesting as a spectator sport once again and not seem to be just a gathering of nice fellows content to make a good check and have a good time. Screw the good time, get serious!
Shouldn't there be a rule that you only get to question the passion or manliness of players if you actually played the Tour?