We have an off-season in golf to now explore the reasons for ratings slides in majors. With SBD's Austin Karp sharing the 2017 PGA overnight, we have a matching 3.6 final round average for the U.S. Open, The Open and PGA to ponder.
I have last year's final round number at 3.4, but I'll defer to Karp with his claim of lowest since '08:
CBS drew a 3.6 overnight rating for final round of PGA Championship. Lowest for event since 2008. Same as US Open, Open Championship in 2017— Austin Karp (@AustinKarp) August 14, 2017
Some eyeballs went to cable news coverage of the events in Charlottesville.
Of note for PGA Championship Sunday: during coverage from 2:00-7:15pm, major cable news networks, covering Charlottesville, saw ratings +25%— Austin Karp (@AustinKarp) August 14, 2017
That the U.S. Open and PGA drew the same final round number as The Open's morning telecast is fairly remarkable, unless you factor in changing viewing habits, the broader appeal of Jordan Spieth and the marketing approaches of the three networks.
As for this PGA my theory on why the numbers were poor for what, in the last 90 minutes, was very compelling viewing with many players making a run at the title:
1. Lack of incentive: Brutal Saturday viewing and lack of mega-star power on leaderboard did not make Sunday appointment viewing.
2. Long telecast lowers the average audience size.
3. Commercial breaks. There was little incentive to sit in front of the television and watch due to relentless interruptions.
3. Eyeballs elsewhere: streaming coverage, cable news viewing
There is one other element raised here before but it again begs the question: is there a kumbaya effect? Do people find things less compelling when the protagonists like each other? My Golfweek colleague raised this point:
A friend suggested golf would be more interesting if Jordan, Justin, Rickie etc. were bitter rivals rather than best buds. Is he right?— Martin Kaufmann (@Golfweek_Marty) August 14, 2017