Good news! U.S. Open ratings were up all four days.
Bad news: once the second-highest rated tournament of the year continued an eye-opening downward trend since Martin Kaymer's runaway at Pinehurst, reports Paulsen at Sports Media Watch. A 3.6 overnight for the final round--an hour longer telecast window than in the NBC days--was up from last year's 3.5 rating for Brooks Koepka's 2017 win.
This year was the fourth of the past five in which final round coverage had less than a 4.0 overnight. From 1989-2013, the final round had at least a 5.0 each year. That 25-year run included a 6.1 five years ago and an 8.5 ten years ago (when Tiger Woods won in a playoff).
Certainly the extra length of the Fox telecasts softens the number, but with only World Cup as sports-viewing competition in the United States, the USGA has not seen audience growth with their move to Fox and faces the possibility of being the least-watched of the four majors again in 2018.
For the opening round featuring Tiger Woods, Fox registered a 3-year high for its network coverage Thursday:
Fox U.S. Open Golf – Thursday First Round (S) (Fox, 4:30 PM, 191 min.)
• 2.149 million viewers
• 1.5/4 HH
• 0.4/3 A18-49 (0.2/2 F18-49, 0.5/5 M18-49)
• 0.3/3 A18-34 (0.1/1 F18-34, 0.4/4 M18-34)
• 0.5/3 A25-54 (0.3/2 F25-54, 0.7/5 M25-54)
Meanwhile Saturday's Live From The U.S. Open drew it's largest audience in seven years on the back of Phil Mickelson's dust-up at 13 and the greens getting away from the USGA, registering a .23 for Golf Channel.