Golf Channel Matches Highest-Rated Year Ever in 2015

By Golf Channel Public RelationsJanuary 5, 2016, 3:00 pm

Millennial Audience Grows 50% Year-over-Year

Golf Channel Digital Scores Best Year Ever Across All Platforms

Golf Channel Encourages More Golfers to Play More Golf through Portfolio of Digital Lifestyle Brands, Highlighted by 15.2 Million Rounds Booked via GolfNow

In 2015, Golf Channel matched its highest-rated year ever (.11 HH Cvg Rtg, 24-hour Total Day 6AM-6AM) for the second consecutive year, according to data released by The Nielsen Company. Additionally, viewership growth was driven in part by “Millennials” with impressions for Persons 25-34 increasing +50% in Total Day, +17% in Primetime and +22% for PGA TOUR coverage. Since joining NBC Sports Group in 2011, Golf Channel has scored its five best years ever and has increased ratings +57% and viewership +43% over that span. Also in 2015, Golf Channel continued as the No. 1 most-affluent ad-supported television network in both total day and primetime for the second consecutive year.

“Golf Channel’s success in 2015 was fueled by the most live coverage ever, which featured a young crop of players making names for themselves as the future stars of the game. In 2016, we will build on this momentum with the addition of an exciting 12-week span that includes The Open, Olympics, FedExCup Playoffs and Ryder Cup,” said Mike McCarley, president of Golf Channel. “Additionally, we are carrying that momentum beyond traditional TV with millions of our loyal viewers engaging with us daily across our portfolio of digital and golf lifestyle brands.”

73 MILLION CONSUME LIVE GOLF VIA NBC SPORTS GROUP: In 2015, NBC Sports Group reached more than 73 million unique viewers via Golf Channel on NBC broadcasts and Golf Channel, which provided more live tournament golf coverage than all other U.S. television networks combined. Golf Channel televised 128 events that reached more than 500k viewers (+133% vs. 2010, +14% vs. 2014) and 13 events that reached more than 1 million viewers (+117% vs. 2010, +225% vs. 2014). This led to Golf Channel posting its second most-watched year (99,000 average viewers, 24-hour Total Day 6AM-6AM, 1% vs. 2014), surpassed only by 2013.

105 MILLION VISITS TO GOLF CHANNEL DIGITAL: Golf Channel’s success extended across all platforms, including more than 105 million visits to Golf Channel Digital, which again saw best-ever results in key metrics for traffic, live streaming consumption, mobile app usage and social media followers. Golf Channel also helped connect more golfers to the game via its portfolio of digital lifestyle brands, including GolfNow, which utilizes technology to encourage more golfers to play more golf and helped golf course partners book more than 15.2 million rounds of golf in 2015, a 13% increase vs. 2014.

CARRYING MOMENTUM INTO 2016: A transformational year ahead for golf and NBC Sports Group, highlighted by:

  • Golf Channel’s coverage from every round of each PGA TOUR event, featuring an emerging roster of young superstars, including Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy, Jason Day, Rickie Fowler and Dustin Johnson, resuming in primetime this Thursday, Jan. 7 from Hawaii with the Hyundai Tournament of Champions.
  • David Feherty calling live tournament action for the first time on NBC, complementing his talk show Feherty on Golf Channel and his contributions to Golf Central and Morning Drive
  • The Open, NBC Sports Group’s inaugural event of their long-term partnership with the R&A (July 14-17, Royal Troon Golf Club, Scotland)
  • Four of five LPGA Tour major championships on Golf Channel and NBC
  • Golf’s return to the Olympics for the first time since 1904 (Men’s: Aug. 11-14; Women’s: Aug. 17-20; Rio de Janeiro)
  • PGA TOUR’s FedExCup Playoffs (Aug. 25-Sept. 25)
  • The Ryder Cup (Sept.30-Oct. 1, Hazeltine National Golf Club, Minneapolis)



Household Cvg Rating


% vs. ’10





















In 2010, Golf Channel posted a .07 household coverage rating.


  • Strong Finish to 2015 after Young Stars Energize (24-hour Total Day 6AM-6AM):
    • First Quarter                 -14% YOY
    • Second Quarter            +3% YOY – Tied Most-Watched Second Quarter Ever
    • Third Quarter               +8% YOY – Most-Watched Third Quarter Ever
    • Fourth Quarter             +13% YOY
    • “Millennial” Growth on Golf Channel (Average Viewers P25-34):
      • +50% in Total Day with Persons 25-34
      • +17% in Primetime with Persons 25-34
      • +22% for PGA TOUR coverage with Persons 25-34
      • Most-Affluent Audience in All of Television:
        • Total Day: No. 1 most-affluent ad-supported television network for median household income ($77.1k) for the second consecutive year
        • Primetime: No. 1 most-affluent ad-supported television network for median household income ($83.6k) for the second consecutive year
        • Comprehensive Coverage of Golf’s Biggest Events (Average Viewers P2+):
          • Golf Channel on NBC coverage of PGA TOUR up 5% vs. 2014
          • Golf Channel’s live coverage of the PGA TOUR was up 9% in 2015 (January-September)
          • Golf Channel and Golf Channel on NBC live coverage of the FedExCup Playoffs saw a 22% increase vs. 2014
          • 40% Year-over-Year Growth for Golf Central’s “Live From” across all four men’s major championships and The Players. These weeks saw year-over-year increases:
            • Masters                        +33% – Second Best Masters Week Ever
            • The Players                  +23% – Second Best Players Week Ever
            • U.S. Open                    +17% – Second Best U.S. Open Week Ever
            • The Open                     +30% – Best Open Championship Week Ever
            • PGA Championship      +6% – Best PGA Championship Week Ever
            • Viewership Records Set at LPGA Tour’s Major Championships on Golf Channel and NBC:
              • ANA Inspiration’s second round posted the most-watched early round in 20 years
              • Inaugural KPMG Women’s PGA Championship was 2015’s second most-watched women’s golf event
              • Evian Championship posted most-watched opening and third rounds since becoming a major championship in 2013
              • Golf Channel’s Coverage of College Golf:
                • 2015 NCAA Men’s & Women’s Golf Championships reached more than 2.2 million viewers and averaged 250,000 viewers, which is +50% vs. same time periods in 2014
                • November’s East Lake Cup reached more than 1.1 million viewers, and live coverage lifted time periods +50% vs. 2014’s fourth quarter average
                • Growth for All Programming Genres vs. Same Time Period in 2010:

Rating   (HH Cvg.)

Average   Viewers

Live   Tournament Coverage






Golf   Central



Morning   Drive



Instructional   Programming




RECORD GROWTH FOR GOLF CHANNEL DIGITAL (all percentages year-over-year):

  • Golf Channel Digital Posts Best Year Ever For All Key Metrics:
    • average monthly uniques +22%, video starts +18%, page views +12%
    • Golf Channel Mobile App: page views +45%, average monthly uniques +15%, video starts +14%
    • Golf Channel’s Apps expand reach with more than 4.2 million downloads, including Golf Channel Mobile, Golf Live Extra and Golf Channel Academy
    • Live Streaming: Golf Live Extra drew 133.3 million total minutes streamed (+41%).
      • Since launch in 2013, 317 million minutes of golf programming have been streamed
      • Social Media Presence: Golf Channel Social Media platforms are up 35% with more than 5.1 million followers across its platforms, including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Golf Channel’s on-air team has nearly 1.8 million collective social media followers, showing a 20% increase.
      • Leading Golf Course Review Resource: Launched in 2014, Golf Advisor is home to more than 450,000 reviews by golfers providing authentic insight on more than 10,000 courses in nearly 150 countries around the globe.


  • “Go Play!” Golf Participation: GolfNow, the world’s leading technology company specializing in golf-related products and services with the most popular online tee time reservation platform, helped golfers book more than 15.2 million rounds of golf in 2015, a 13% increase year-over-year, at nearly 9,000 golf courses worldwide.
  • Golf Course Technology: GolfNow aided nearly 9,000 golf courses to more efficiently run their businesses via a portfolio of specifically designed software and services.
  • High-Quality Instruction: Golf Channel’s instructional content continues to evolve beyond television. The Golf Channel Academy app features more than 2,500 curated instructional videos. And in 2015, Golf Channel launched instruction facilities also branded Golf Channel Academy, which feature a network of the most-recognized coaching names in the industry at premier golf locations across North America. In Golf Channel Academy’s first year, 68 facilities in 28 top markets make up the network, employing more than 200 top-caliber coaches.
  • Largest Amateur Tour in Golf: The 2015 Golf Channel Amateur Tour featured more than 6,700 avid amateur golfers logging 56,700 competitive rounds at more than 700 tournaments held in the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico, culminating in the 2015 National Championship in Palm Springs, Calif. at PGA West with the maximum 1,235 players competing.


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Suspended Hensby offers details on missed drug test

By Will GrayDecember 12, 2017, 11:30 pm

One day after receiving a one-year suspension from the PGA Tour for failing to provide a sample for a drug test, Mark Hensby offered details on the events that led to his missed test in October.

Hensby, 46, released a statement explaining that the test in question came after the opening round of the Sanderson Farms Championship, where the Aussie opened with a 78. Frustrated about his play, Hensby said he was prepared to give a blood sample but was then informed that the test would be urine, not blood.

"I had just urinated on the eighth hole, my 17th hole that day, and knew that I was probably unable to complete the urine test for at least a couple more hours," Hensby said. "I told this gentleman that I would complete the test in the morning prior to my early morning tee time. Another gentleman nearby told me that 'they have no authority to require me to stay.' Thus, I left."

Hensby explained that he subsequently received multiple calls and texts from PGA Tour officials inquiring as to why he left without providing a sample and requesting that he return to the course.

"I showed poor judgment in not responding," said Hensby, who was subsequently disqualified from the tournament.

Hensby won the 2004 John Deere Classic, but he has missed six cuts in seven PGA Tour starts over the last two years. He will not be eligible to return to the Tour until Oct. 26, 2018.

"Again, I made a terrible decision to not stay around that evening to take the urine test," Hensby said. "Obviously in hindsight I should have been more patient, more rational and taken the test. Call me stupid, but don't call me a cheater. I love the game. I love the integrity that it represents, and I would never compromise the values and qualities that the game deserves."

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Day's wife shares emotional story of miscarriage

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 4:12 pm

Jason Day’s wife revealed on social media that the couple had a miscarriage last month.

Ellie Day, who announced her pregnancy on Nov. 4, posted an emotional note on Instagram that she lost the baby on Thanksgiving.

“I found out the baby had no heartbeat anymore. I was devastated,” she wrote. “I snuck out the back door of my doctor, a hot, sobbing, mascara-covered mess. Two and a half weeks went by witih me battling my heart and brain about what was happening in my body, wondering why this wouldn’t just be over.”

The Days, who have two children, Dash and Lucy, decided to go public to help others who have suffered similar heartbreak.

“I hope you know you aren’t alone and I hope you feel God wrap his arms around you when you feel the depths of sorrow and loss,” she wrote.  

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 5, Sergio Garcia

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 1:00 pm

This was the year it finally happened for Sergio Garcia.

The one-time teen phenom, known for years as “El Nino,” entered the Masters as he had dozens of majors beforehand – shouldered with the burden of being the best player without a major.

Garcia was 0-for-72 driving down Magnolia Lane in April, but after a thrilling final round and sudden-death victory over Justin Rose, the Spaniard at long last captured his elusive first major title.

The expectation for years was that Garcia might land his white whale on a British links course, or perhaps at a U.S. Open where his elite ball-striking might shine. Instead it was on the storied back nine at Augusta National that he came alive, chasing down Rose thanks in part to a memorable approach on No. 15 that hit the pin and led to an eagle.

Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year

A green jacket was only the start of a transformative year for Garcia, 37, who heaped credit for his win on his then-fiancee, Angela Akins. The two were married in July, and months later the couple announced that they were expecting their first child to arrive just ahead of Garcia’s return to Augusta, where he'll host his first champions’ dinner.

And while players often cling to the notion that a major win won’t intrinsically change them, there was a noticeable difference in Garcia over the summer months. The weight of expectation, conscious or otherwise, seemed to lift almost instantly. Like other recent Masters champs, he took the green jacket on a worldwide tour, with stops at Wimbledon and a soccer match between Real Madrid and Barcelona.

The player who burst onto the scene as a baby-faced upstart is now a grizzled veteran with nearly two decades of pro golf behind him. While the changes this year occurred both on and off the course, 2017 will always be remembered as the year when Garcia finally, improbably, earned the title of major champion.

Masters victory

Article: Garcia defeats Rose to win Masters playoff

Article: Finally at peace: Garcia makes major breakthrough

Article: Garcia redeems career, creates new narrative

Video: See the putt that made Sergio a major champ

Green jacket tour

Article: Take a look at Sergio's crazy, hectic media tour

Article: Garcia with fiancée, green jacket at Wimbledon

Article: Watch: Garcia kicks off El Clasico in green jacket

Man of the people

Article: SERGIO! Garcia finally gets patrons on his side

Article: Fan finally caddies for Sergio after asking 206 times

Article: Sergio donates money for Texas flood relief

Article: Connelly, Garcia paired years after photo together

Ace at 17th at Sawgrass

Growing family

Article: Sergio, Angela get married; Kenny G plays reception

Article: Garcia, wife expecting first child in March 2018

Departure from TaylorMade

Article: Masters champ Garcia splits with TaylorMade

Squashed beef with Paddy

Article: Harrington: Garcia was a 'sore loser'

Article: Sergio, Padraig had 'great talk,' are 'fine'

Victory at Valderrama

Article: Garcia gets first win since Masters at Valderrama

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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 12:30 pm