Golf Channel Posts 8th Straight Quarter of Viewership Growth

By Golf Channel Public RelationsMarch 31, 2017, 1:05 pm

1st Quarter Millennial Viewership Up 60% over 2 Years, Up 33% vs. 4th Quarter 2016 

Golf Channel Digital Posts 40% Increase in Streaming Year-Over-Year, Marking Highest 1st Quarter Ever in Total Live Minutes Streamed

Golf Channel posted its eighth consecutive quarter of year-over-year viewership growth with 1st Quarter 2017 drawing 110,000 average viewers in Total Day, +1% vs. 1st Quarter 2016. This marks 19 of 25 quarters of viewership growth since Golf Channel joined NBC Sports Group in 2011. Across 1st Quarter, 20.6 million unique viewers tuned into Golf Channel, increasing to 44.7 million unique viewers across Golf Channel and Golf Channel on NBC telecasts. Golf Channel’s millennial viewership in 1st Quarter was +60% vs. two years ago, and + 33% vs. 4th Quarter 2016. Additionally, Golf Channel continued as the most-affluent audience in all of television with the highest median household income among all measured television networks, according to data released by The Nielsen Company.

“Golf Channel’s steady audience growth is a reflection of passionate viewers who continue to respond to live, high-quality and engaging content across all platforms,” said Mike McCarley, president, Golf, NBC Sports Group. “We aim to continue this momentum into Masters week with the Drive, Chip and Putt National Finals on Sunday morning, followed by nearly 90 hours of comprehensive news coverage anchored by Golf Central Live From the Masters,and culminating with our three-night primetime film, Jack.

GOLF CHANNEL DIGITAL POSTS RECORD 1st QUARTER STREAMING

With two days still left in the quarter, Golf Channel marked its highest 1st Quarter ever in total live minutes streamed with nearly 73 million, +40% vs. 1st Quarter 2016. This is the second-highest quarter ever, behind only 3rd Quarter 2016, which featured the network’s first-ever live coverage of The Open.

SEASON 7 OF FEHERTY OFF TO HOT START:

Season 7 of the recently announced Sports Emmy-nominated series Feherty posted the most-watched and highest-rated episodes ever for a Golf Channel original production. Additionally, the two episodes of Feherty sitting down with Phil Mickelson ranked in the Top-5 for all sports programming across two consecutive Monday nights in March.

GOLF CHANNEL’S MASTERS WEEK PROGRAMMING:

  • Drive, Chip & Putt Championship National Finals: Sunday, April 2 8 a.m.-1 p.m. ET

In partnership with the Masters Tournament Foundation, PGA of America and USGA, Golf Channel’s fourth year of televising live coverage from Augusta National will highlight each of the 40 boys and 40 girls who have advanced to Augusta National. Golf Channel also will dedicate pre- and post-event coverage on its daily news shows, Golf Central and Morning Drive.

  • Golf Central Live From the Masters

On Monday, April 3, Golf Channel will commence its nearly 90 hours of live news and Masters-themed programming, led by the network’s signature Golf Central Live From the Masters news coverage, focusing on emerging storylines, analysis, features and guest interviews throughout the week surrounding the first men’s major of 2017. Anchoring Golf Central Live From the Masters coverage from Augusta National Golf Club will be Mike Tirico, Rich Lerner and Steve Sands, alongside Brandel Chamblee, David Duval, Colin Montgomerie, Frank Nobilo, Notah Begay, Mark Rolfing, and John Feinstein. Notable guests expected to appear currently include past Masters champions Jack Nicklaus, Ben Crenshaw and Raymond Floyd.

  • Jack: Sunday, April 9 – Tuesday, April 11, 9 p.m. ET

Golf Films’ Jack, a three-night television event capturing the comprehensive story of record 18-time major champion Jack Nicklaus, blends recollections from Nicklaus, as well as his playing competitors, family members, sports legends, business partners and childhood friends. Featuring a collection of nearly 100 interviews, Jack includes appearances from Presidents Donald Trump and George W. Bush, along with other sport “Greats of All-Time” such as Roger Federer, Wayne Gretzky, Richard Petty, Jerry Rice, Nolan Ryan, Annika Sorenstam and Kelly Slater. Narrated by Emmy and Golden Globe award-winning actor Tom Selleck, Jack utilizes accounts from Nicklaus gathered over the past 18 months and showcases an unprecedented video collection of rarely seen broadcast footage from his record 18 major championship victories.

Sources: All Nielsen data Live+Same Day unless otherwise noted. 2017 (12/26/2016-03/26/2017) vs. 2016 (12/28/15-12/25/16) and. 2015 (12/29/14-12/27/15) as listed, using program based strict half-hour data. Reach totals based on 6-minute qualifier and full-quarter unification. Persons 2+ and Persons 25-34 unless otherwise noted. HHI is against all other full-time Nielsen measured TV networks. Additional details available. Digital Metrics from Adobe Reports & Analytics.

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Fleetwood flawless en route to Abu Dhabi lead

By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 2:06 pm

New year, same results for Tommy Fleetwood.

The reigning Race to Dubai champ picked up where he left off in the opening round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, carding a bogey-free 66 during which the Englishman found all 18 greens in regulation. At 6 under, he shares the lead with Japan's Hideto Tanihara and sits one shot clear of five other players.

"Very stress-free. Played really well from start to finish," Fleetwood said. "Felt like I did what you need to do around this golf course, which is drive it well, hit your irons solid. You can't really be too greedy a lot of the time, and then sort of my pace putting was really good. So basically just did what you need to do to get a good score around this golf course, and I got one."


Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


Fleetwood shined in a marquee grouping that included world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy, as he birdied three holes on each nine. This is his first worldwide start since a T-3 finish at the Hero World Challenge.

It was at this event a year ago that Fleetwood sparked a career campaign, edging Johnson and Pablo Larrazabal for the win. He added another win at the French Open in the summer to go along with a pair of runner-up results and a T-4 finish at the U.S. Open, all of which helped him capture the European Tour's season-long title.

Fleetwood's sudden success in Abu Dhabi serves as a microcosm for his career resurgence. Prior to last year's victory, he had missed the cut in four of his five other trips to this event.

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Sergio starts season with 66 in Singapore

By Associated PressJanuary 18, 2018, 12:56 pm

SINGAPORE – Sergio Garcia opened his season with a 5-under 66 and a share of the clubhouse lead on Thursday in the first round of the weather-interrupted Singapore Open.

Playing his first tournament of the year, the Masters champion rebounded after making an early bogey to collect four birdies and an eagle at the Sentosa Golf Club.

He was later joined by American qualifier Kurt Kitayama in the clubhouse lead. Still on the course, Tirawat Kaewsiribandit was at 6 under through 16 holes when play was suspended for the day because of the threat of lightning.

Louis Oosthuizen, the 2010 Open champion, was at 5 under through 16 holes when he also had to stop his round because of the weather.

Of the players who did finish their opening rounds, only three were within two strokes of Garcia and Kitayama. One of them was Casey O'Toole, who aced the par-3 second with a 7-iron.



The 38-year-old Garcia dropped his only shot of the day on the par-4 15th, his sixth hole after teeing off on the back nine, when he missed the fairway and was unable to make par. But he made amends when he birdied the par-3 17th and then eagled the par-5 18th to go out in 33.

''I was 1 over after (the) seventh but it didn't feel like I was playing badly,'' said Garcia, who made birdies on each of the two par 5s and one of the par 3s on the second nine. ''But then I hit two greats in a row for holes 17 and 18. I got a birdie-eagle there, so that settled me a little bit and I could play solid in the back nine and it was a great round.''

Garcia made the shortlist for the Laureus Sports Awards in the Breakthrough of the Year category after claiming his first major at Augusta National last year and is hoping for more success this season.

He credits the Singapore Open as having played a part in toughening him up for his Masters win because he opted to start his 2017 campaign in the stifling humidity of Southeast Asia to prepare himself for the bigger tournaments ahead.

Although he finished tied for 11th in Singapore, Garcia won the Dubai Desert Classic the next week and was in peak form when he won the Masters two months later.

Kitayama only secured his place in the $1 million event on Monday by finishing at the top of the qualifying competition, but he made a strong start with birdies on three of his first five holes. The 25-year-old Thai was 6 under through 13 holes but spoiled his otherwise flawless round with a bogey on his last.

''I started with a birdie and I just let it roll from there. I had some good tee shots, which I think, is the biggest thing for this course,'' Kitayama said. ''I'm a little tired, but I'm hanging in there. Whenever I have time off, I'll try not to think too much about golf.''

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13-year-old beats DJ in closest-to-the-pin contest

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 18, 2018, 12:26 pm

Dustin Johnson didn’t just get beat by Tommy Fleetwood and Rory McIlroy on Day 1 of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

Even a 13-year-old got the best of the world No. 1.

Oscar Murphy teed off on the 177-yard 15th hole as part of the tournament’s Beat the Pro challenge during the opening round. The Northern Irishman, one of the HSBC’s Future Falcons, carved a 3-wood toward a back-right pin, about 25 feet away, closer than both Johnson and Fleetwood.

“An unbelievable shot,” Fleetwood said afterward, “and me and Rory both said, ‘We don’t have that in our locker.’”



Johnson still made par on the hole, but he mixed four birdies with four bogeys Thursday for an even-par 72 that left him six shots back of Fleetwood and Hideto Tanihara after the opening round.

Johnson, who tied for second here a year ago, is coming off a dominant performance at the Sentry Tournament of Champions, where he won by eight shots to strengthen his lead atop the world rankings. 

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McIlroy 'really pleased' with opening 69 in Abu Dhabi

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 18, 2018, 12:10 pm

It was an auspicious 2018 debut for Rory McIlroy.

Playing alongside world No. 1 Dustin Johnson for his first round since October, McIlroy missed only one green and shot a bogey-free 69 at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. McIlroy is three shots back of reigning Race to Dubai champion Tommy Fleetwood, who played in the same group as McIlroy and Johnson, and Hideto Tanihara.

Starting on the back nine at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, McIlroy began with 11 consecutive pars before birdies on Nos. 3, 7 and 8.


Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


“I was excited to get going,” he told reporters afterward. “The last couple of months have been really nice in terms of being able to concentrate on things I needed to work on in my game and health-wise. I feel like I’m the most prepared for a season that I’ve ever been, but it was nice to get back out there.”

Fleetwood, the defending champion, raced out to another lead while McIlroy and Johnson, who shot 72, just tried to keep pace.

“Tommy played very well and I was just trying to hang onto his coattails for most of the round, so really pleased – bogey-free 69, I can’t really complain,” McIlroy said.

This was his first competitive round in more than three months, since a tie for 63rd at the Dunhill Links. He is outside the top 10 in the world ranking for the first time since 2014.