Senior Ratings Image Take a Hit
On the one hand, the Tour promotes the charities and the First Tee program and all the things it is trying to do to get next to the people. Then, they turn right around and act like the elitist organization a lot of people suspect them of being. And I honestly dont know whom to believe anymore.
The Senior Tour is awash in bad ratings on its cable television network, CNBC. CNBC is televising 33 tournaments this year, with one rather large caveat: they arent showing them live. ESPN has been the network of choice for the Senior Tour the last few years, but on a more limited basis. CNBC is basically a network for financial experts and their wannabees, not a channel of sports nuts. Golf is a new venture for CNBC, but it is shown after the markets close and the figure filberts have gone home for the day. Tournaments are shown from 5-7 p.m. Eastern, even though they are actually finished two or three hours before then.
Still, the Tour puts a very interesting twist to CNBC. Im very comfortable in some respects, commissioner Tim Finchem said recently.
Hes comfortable in that 25 percent more tournaments are broadcast on CNBC, he said. And hes also comfortable with the promotion CNBC gives. Getting in front of their audience is very important, said Finchem.
The Tennessean newspaper did a survey recently in which the telecasts of March were compared to those of a year ago. The ratings were down 24 percent overall, but for those with an income of $75,000 or more, ratings were up 80 percent. For those aged 35 to 64, ratings were still down overall, but when it came to the wealthy 35-64s, ratings were up 135 percent. This, believes the Tour, is something worth crowing about.
To the average Joe, that is a little troubling. The Senior Tour isnt the same product it was five or 10 years ago, its popularity is waning, and yet the Tour is doing little to change it.
Were definitely getting the audience the golf advertisers and the Senior PGA are looking for, CNBC spokesman Jonathan Klein told The Tennessean.
What is the Senior Tour looking for? Is it the audience, or is it the type of audience? Is it numbers, or the number in bank accounts?
It isnt CNBCs fault that the ratings are slipping. They just televise the events, and with a four-year contract firmly in place, nothing is going to change for quite some time.
But this whole thing leaves professional golf in a sticky situation as far as perception. The Senior Tours audience is dwindling as its great old stars leave one by one. But the PGA Tour seems fine with that, as long as the upper-income blokes keep watching. If you and I dont find it convenient to watch the tape-delayed telecasts, that doesnt particularly bother the folks of the Tour. Now, if Bryan Big Shot were not to watch, that would be worrisome, according to the PGA Tour.
And yet, the Tour maintains that golfs elitist image is not the image it wants to project. It wants you to believe it has in mind the interests of the school kid, as well as the millionaire. It may be a Tour of millionaires, but it wants you to believe it has your interests at heart.
The ideals of the First Tee, a program designed to introduce everyone to golf, are certainly lofty. But they conflict with the ideals of reality, which say that CBNC is the network of the rich.
Cabreras win PNC Father/Son Challenge
ORLANDO, Fla. - Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. closed with a 12-under 60 for a three-shot victory in their debut at the PNC Father/Son Challenge.
The Cabreras opened with a 59 at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club and were challenged briefly by the defending champions, David Duval and Nick Karavites, in the scramble format Sunday. The Argentines went out in 30, and they had a two-shot lead with Cabrera's son came within an inch of chipping in for eagle on the final hole.
They finished at 25-under 199 for a three-shot victory over Duval and Karavites, and Bernhard Langer and Jason Langer. The Langer team won in 2014.
Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara tied for fourth at 21 under with Jerry Pate and Wesley Pate.
Cabrera wasn't even in the field until two-time U.S. Open champion Curtis Strange and his son, Tom Strange, had to withdraw.
Duval and his stepson went out in 28, but the Cabreras regained control by starting the back nine with back-to-back birdies, and then making birdies on the 13th, 14th and 16th. The final birdie allowed them to tie the tournament scoring record.
''This is certain my best week of the year,'' said Cabrera, the 2009 Masters champion and 2007 U.S. Open champion at Oakmont. ''To play alongside all the legends ... as well as playing alongside my son, has been the greatest week of the year.''
The popular event is for players who have won a major championship or The Players Championship. It is a scramble format both days.
In some cases, the major champions lean on the power of their sons for the distance. O'Meara said Saturday that his ''little man'' hit it 58 yards by him on the 18th. And on Sunday, Stewart Cink said son Reagan told him after outdriving him on the opening four holes, ''In this tournament I may be your son, but right now I'm your Daddy!''
Jack Nicklaus played with his grandson, G.T. They closed with a 64 and tied for 15th in the field of 20 teams.
Rose wins; Aphibarnrat earns Masters bid in Indonesia
Justin Rose continued his recent run of dominance in Indonesia, while Kiradech Aphibarnrat snagged a Masters invite with some 72nd-hole dramatics.
Rose cruised to an eight-shot victory at the Indonesian Masters, carding bookend rounds of 10-under 62 that featured a brief run at a 59 during the final round. The Englishman was the highest-ranked player in the field and he led wire-to-wire, with Thailand's Phachara Khongwatmai finishing second.
Rose closes out the year as perhaps the hottest player in the world, with top-10 finishes in each of his final 10 worldwide starts. That stretch includes three victories, as Rose also won the WGC-HSBC Champions and Turkish Airlines Open. He hasn't finished outside the top 10 in a tournament since missing the cut at the PGA Championship.
Meanwhile, it took until the final hole of the final tournament of 2017 for Aphibarnrat to secure a return to the Masters. The Thai entered the week ranked No. 56 in the world, with the top 50 in the year-end world rankings earning invites to Augusta National. Needing an eagle on the 72nd hole, Aphibarnrat got just that to snag solo fifth place.
It means that he is projected to end the year ranked No. 49, while Japan's Yusaku Miyazato - who started the week ranked No. 58 and finished alone in fourth - is projected to finish No. 50. Aphibarnrat finished T-15 in his Masters debut in 2016, while Miyazato will make his first appearance in the spring.
The results in Indonesia mean that American Peter Uihlein and South Africa's Dylan Frittelli are projected to barely miss the year-end, top-50 cutoff. Their options for Masters qualification will include winning a full-point PGA Tour event in early 2018 or cracking the top 50 by the final March 25 cutoff.
Cabreras take 1-shot lead in Father/Son
ORLANDO, Fla. - Two-time major champion Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. birdied their last three holes for a 13-under 59 to take a one-shot lead Saturday in the PNC Father-Son Challenge.
Cabrera, a Masters and U.S. Open champion, is making his debut in this popular 36-hole scramble. His son said he practiced hard for 10 days. What helped put him at ease was watching his father make so many putts.
''We combined very well,'' Cabrera said. ''When I hit a bad shot, he hit a good one. That's the key.''
They had a one-shot lead over Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara, who are playing for the first time. That included a birdie on the last hole, which O'Meara attributed to the strength of his son.
''My little man hit it 58 yards by me on the 18th,'' said O'Meara, the Masters and British Open champion in 1998. ''It's a little easier coming in with a 6-iron.''
Defending champions David Duval and Nick Karavites rallied over the back nine at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club for a 61. They are trying to become the first father-son team to repeat as winners since Bernhard and Stefan Langer in 2006. Larry Nelson won two years in a row in 2007 and 2008, but with different sons.
''I'd imagine we have to break 60 tomorrow to have a chance to win, but hey, stranger things have happened,'' Duval said. ''I've even done it myself.''
Duval shot 59 at the Bob Hope Classic to win in 1999 on his way to reaching No. 1 in the world that year.
Duval and his stepson were tied with Bernhard Langer and 17-year-old Jason Langer, who made two eagles on the last five holes. This Langer tandem won in 2014.
Jack Nicklaus, playing with grandson G.T., opened with a 68.
Woods' 2018 schedule coming into focus ... or is it?
Two weeks after his successful return to competition at the Hero World Challenge, Tiger Woods’ 2018 schedule may be coming into focus.
Golfweek reported on Saturday that Woods hopes to play the Genesis Open in February according to an unidentified source with “direct knowledge of the situation.”
Woods’ agent Mark Steinberg declined to confirm the 14-time major champion would play the event and told GolfChannel.com that Woods – who underwent fusion surgery to his lower back in April – is still formulating his ’18 schedule.
Woods’ foundation is the host organization for the Genesis Open and the event supports the Tiger Woods Learning Center in Anaheim, Calif.
The Genesis Open would be Woods’ first start on the PGA Tour since he missed the cut last January at the Farmers Insurance Open.