Other than Tiger's absence and not enough Phil on leaderboards, it's hard to pinpoint the network ratings decline for PGA Tour events of late.
Sports Media Watch's Paulsen notes that six straight PGA Tour Sundays--Waste Management to Valspar--have shown ratings declines, as have nine of the last 11 final rounds.
Certainly the cord cutting eating into all ratings is in play, yet Golf Channel's cable lead-in coverage isn't seeing the level of decline that the network broadcast ratings are experiencing.
There were also commanding third round leads in nearly all of the last six, which never helps attract the general sports fans who might stumble on golf and stick with a close final round.
Either way, this is of note in a year the PGA Tour may opt out of its current network deal to re-shape the schedule and/or bring in additional broadcast partners. From Paulsen:
Final round coverage of the PGA Tour at Tampa Bay had a 1.5 final rating and 2.3 million viewers last Sunday, down 25% in ratings and 22% in viewership from last year (2.0, 2.9M), down 29% and 26% respectively from 2015 (2.1, 3.1M) and the least-watched final round of the tournament since 2011 (1.9M).
Not counting lead-in windows on Golf Channel, the past six final round PGA Tour telecasts have declined from last year. Sunday’s telecast was the third of those to hit a multi-year low.
At least Feherty is turning in some nice ratings. Part 2 of his chat with Phil drew a stout .27, 442k viewer average up 26% over last year's Jordan Spieth Part 2 show. This makes it the most watched Feherty ever.