Golf Channel Posts Four Best Years in Network History with Highest-Rated and Second Most-Watched Year Ever

By Golf Channel Public RelationsJanuary 6, 2015, 2:15 pm

Golf Channel Is No. 1 Most-Affluent Ad-Supported Network

in All of Television for Both Total Day and Primetime


Golf Channel Digital Scores Best Year Ever Across All Platforms

Including, Golf Live Extra Streaming,

Mobile Apps and Social Media 


Golf Channel Engages Record Number of Golfers through Suite

of Digital Lifestyle Brands, Encouraging More Golfers to Play More Golf

Since joining NBC Sports Group in 2011, Golf Channel has scored its four best years ever and has increased ratings +57% and total-day average viewership +40% over that span. In 2014, Golf Channel matched its highest-rated year (.11 HH Cvg Rtg, 24-hour Total Day 6AM-6AM), and posted its second most-watched year (98,000 average viewers, 24-hour Total Day 6AM-6AM), surpassed only by 2013. Additionally in 2014, Golf Channel was the No. 1 most-affluent ad-supported television network in both total day and primetime, with both the highest median income and percentage of audience earning more than $100k, according to data released by The Nielsen Company.

In 2014, NBC Sports Group reached an unmatched 79 million 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 and garnered the most Sports Emmy nominations in network history. Additionally, more than 54 million golf fans visited Golf Channel Digital platforms, which saw best-ever results in key metrics for traffic, Golf Live Extra streaming, mobile app usage and social media followers. Golf Channel also helped connect more golfers to the game via its suite of digital lifestyle brands such as GolfNow, which utilizes technology to encourage more golfers to play more golf.

Golf Channel, which was co-founded by Arnold Palmer in 1995 as the first single-sport cable network, will celebrate its 20th anniversary on January 17. Over that span, Golf Channel has experienced tremendous growth, which has increased significantly since the network joined NBC Sports Group in 2011.



Household Cvg Rating


% vs. ’10

Average Viewers


% vs. ’10





























In 2010, Golf Channel posted a .07 household coverage rating and averaged 70,000 viewers.

“Golf Channel features high-quality golf content – from showcasing the world’s best competing around the globe to improving the experience of golfers at their local course. Over the past four years, Golf Channel has built viewership momentum with a focus on unprecedented live tournament coverage and daily news and analysis, as well as a primetime lineup featuring award-winning original and instructional programming,” said Mike McCarley, president of Golf Channel. “The loyal Golf Channel audience also extends to other platforms, propelling Golf Channel Digital to its best year ever in 2014 for online, mobile, streaming and social media. We are pleased to continue to engage with the golfer beyond traditional media, using technology like GolfNow, which helps golf course operators run their businesses more efficiently and aids golfers to better enjoy the game.”


  • Highest-Rated and Second Most-Watched Year Ever (24-hour Total Day 6AM-6AM):
    • Tied highest-rated year ever with .11 household coverage rating, sixth for sports networks
    • Second most-watched year ever by averaging 98,000 viewers, sixth for sports networks
    • Most-Affluent Audience in All of Ad-Supported Television for Total Day and Primetime:
      • Total Day: No. 1 most-affluent ad-supported television network for median household income and percentage of $100k+ household income audience delivery ($75.5k; 38%)
      • Primetime: No. 1 most-affluent ad-supported television network for median household income and percentage of $100k+ household income audience delivery ($81.6k; 44%)
      • Growth for All Programming Genres vs. Same Time Period in 2010:


Coverage   Rating

Average   Viewers

Tournament   Coverage



Golf   Central



Morning   Drive



Instructional   Programming



Original   Programming



  • Most Sports Emmy-Award Nominations in Network History:

Adding to NBC Sports Group’s legacy of high-quality storytelling, Golf Channel garnered the most Sports Emmy-Award nominations in the network’s 20-year history:

  • Outstanding Sports Personality, Studio Host: David Feherty
  • Outstanding Sports Journalism: In Play with Jimmy Roberts
  • Outstanding Technical Team Remote: Golf Channel on NBC (THE PLAYERS)
  • Outstanding Editing: PGA TOUR Teases
  • Ryder Cup Friday – Second Best Day In Network History: Nearly 20 million viewers watched Golf Channel and NBC’s 2014 Ryder Cup coverage from Scotland, which was televised live in its entirety for the first time ever from a European venue. On Friday, Sept. 26, Golf Channel’s first-ever live coverage of the Ryder Cup matches resulted in the network’s most-watched day (476,000 average viewers) and highest-rated day (.53 HH Cvg Rtg) in 2014. Despite the overnight telecast (2:30 a.m.–1 p.m. ET), Friday’s live coverage marked the second most-watched and highest-rated day in Golf Channel history behind Friday’s coverage of the 2011 Presidents Cup from Australia (589,000 average viewers, .56 HH Cvg Rtg).
  • Increased Live Hours for LPGA Tour: More than 17.2 million viewers tuned in to the LPGA Tour on Golf Channel and NBC in 2014. With +30% more dedicated tournament coverage, including +22% more live hours on Golf Channel, LPGA Tour’s average viewership and ratings were even YOY.
  • New Programming Initiatives:
    • Morning Drive, Golf Channel’s daily morning show, had its first full year featuring a seven-days-a-week schedule and was +14% for average viewership YOY, and has nearly tripled the comparable timeslot since launching in January 2011. Establishing itself as the place where golfers begin their day, Morning Drive has found its voice by featuring interviews with the industry’s top newsmakers and greatest players, as well as covering all aspects of the game.
    • Drive, Chip & Putt Championship National Finals reached nearly 2.1 million viewers and averaged 315,000 viewers with its inaugural telecast on Golf Channel. A joint initiative founded by the Masters Tournament Foundation, PGA of America and United States Golf Association, the Drive, Chip and Putt Championship is a free nationwide junior golf development competition that concludes at Augusta National Golf Club on the Sunday prior to the Masters.
    • Arnie garnered nearly 2 million viewers during the week this three-night television event premiered, which helped contribute to Golf Channel’s most-watched April since Arnold Palmer launched the network 20 years ago. The premiere of Arnie was Golf Channel’s most-watched and highest-rated original production ever (471,000 average viewers, .39 HH Cvg Rtg).
    • 2014 NCAA Men’s Golf Championship reached more than 2.2 million viewers and averaged 250,000 viewers, which is +50% vs. same time periods YOY. After the network’s inaugural coverage of the event in 2014, Golf Channel will expand in May 2015 to include both the NCAA Men’s and Women’s Golf Championships.
    • Big Break Invitational reached more than 2.5 million viewers and averaged 171,000 viewers in October, which is +20% vs. same time periods YOY. Built upon 21 seasons of Golf Channel’s competition reality series Big Break, the inaugural tournament featured 40 of the top alumni competing in a live televised tournament setting. Additionally, season 21 of Big Break Florida featured Golf Channel’s most-watched and highest-rated original series episode premiere with the series’ third installment in March (441,000 average viewers, .38 HH Cvg Rtg).


  • Golf Channel Digital Posts Best Year Ever: Both and Golf Channel Mobile App posted their best year ever in video starts and page views, as well as uniques and visits for, with the following YOY gains:
    • video starts +103%, visits +56%, uniques +38%, page views +30%
    • Golf Channel Mobile App: video starts +23%, page views +16%
    • Live Streaming: Golf Live Extra drew 92.5 million total minutes streamed and was +20% for live streaming starts YOY.
      • Since Golf Live Extra launched in 2013, 183 million minutes of golf programming have been streamed
      • In 2014, Golf Live Extra’s top streamed event was the Ryder Cup with nearly 12 million minutes streamed
      • Golf Channel’s Mobile Apps Expand Reach with More Than 6 Million Downloads:
        • In 2014, Golf Channel’s suite of four mobile apps posted +28% in unique visitors YOY.
        • Both upgraded with new designs and functionality in 2014, Golf Channel Mobile (golf news, analysis, results) has 3.5 million downloads and GolfNow (tee time booking, on-course GPS, in-round scoring, performance tracking) has 1.9 million downloads.
        • Golf Live Extra (live streaming): 665K downloads, +91% YOY
        • Golf Channel Academy (comprehensive instructional video library): 344K downloads, +38% YOY
        • Social Media Presence: Golf Channel Social Media is +63% YOY with more than 4 million followers on platforms including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
        • Leading Golf Course Review Resource: Launched in 2014, is now home to more than 325,000 reviews by golfers, for golfers, providing authentic insight on 9,000 courses in 29 countries around the globe.


  • “Go Play!” Golf Participation: GolfNow, the world’s leading online tee time booking platform, helped golfers book more than 13.4 million rounds of golf in 2014 at nearly 6,000 golf courses worldwide.
  • Golf Course Technology: GolfNow Solutions aided more than 8,100 golf courses to more efficiently run their businesses via a suite of specifically designed software, including online booking engines, tee sheet management, point-of-sale accounting and comprehensive golf course marketing and operations applications.
  • On-Course Experience: GolfNow Mobile App launched a premium version in October 2014, now providing more than a convenient platform for golfers to book a tee time. The premium version of the GolfNow Mobile App includes on-course GPS range-finding, in-round scoring and performance tracking, making the GolfNow app the most comprehensive mobile source for before, during and after your round.
  • High-Quality Instruction: As a cornerstone of Golf Channel since its launch in 1995, instructional content continues to evolve including in 2014 with Golf Channel Academy App delivering nearly 2 million video starts from Golf Channel’s robust library of instructional content. And in 2015, the Golf Channel Academy brand is expanding beyond television and the mobile app to also include Golf Channel Academy, a network of top-tier coaches and academies at premier golf locations across North America that are dedicated to growing the game by developing a player-coach culture focused on sustained improvement and enjoyment.
  • Largest Amateur Tour in All of Golf: The 2014 Golf Channel Amateur Tour featured more than 6,500 avid amateur golfers logging 55,500 competitive rounds at more than 700 tournaments held in the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico, culminating in the most ever golfers (1,235) playing in the 2014 National Championship in Scottsdale, Ariz. at Grayhawk and Talking Stick Golf Clubs.


Golf Channel is a multimedia, golf entertainment and services company based in Orlando, Fla. Golf Channel, co-founded by Arnold Palmer in 1995 and now part of the NBC Sports Group, is available in more than 120 million homes and 83 countries worldwide. Exclusive partnerships with the world’s top tours allow Golf Channel to feature more live golf coverage than all other networks combined, as well as a programming schedule distinguished by golf’s highest-quality news, instruction and original programming. Golf Channel’s digital platforms, headed by, are the leading golf destinations on the Internet, delivering unmatched coverage of the world of golf. Fans are able to enjoy 24/7 live streaming of Golf Channel content through Golf Live Extra and select programming is simulcast via SiriusXM’s PGA TOUR Radio. In addition, Golf Channel connects the world to golf through a wide array of digital services including Golf Channel Mobile; GolfNow, the world’s largest online booking platform;, a golf course ratings and review portal; the interactive Golf Channel Academy instructional app; and the Golf Channel Am Tour, the world’s largest amateur golf tour.

For more information about NBC Sports Group shows and properties, including press releases, photos, talent and executive bios and headshots, please visit

Getty Images

Teenager Im wins season opener

By Will GrayJanuary 16, 2018, 10:23 pm

South Korea's Sungjae Im cruised to a four-shot victory at The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic, becoming just the second teenager to win an event on the Tour.

Im started the final day of the season-opening event in a share of the lead but still with six holes left in his third round. He was one shot behind Carlos Ortiz when the final round began, but moved ahead of the former Player of the Year thanks to a 7-under 65 in rainy and windy conditions. Im's 13-under total left him four clear of Ortiz and five shots ahead of a quartet of players in third.

Still more than two months shy of his 20th birthday, Im joins Jason Day as the only two teens to win on the developmental circuit. Day was 19 years, 7 months and 26 days old when he captured the 2007 Legend Financial Group Classic.

Recent PGA Tour winners Si Woo Kim and Patrick Cantlay and former NCAA champ Aaron Wise all won their first Tour event at age 20.

Other notable finishes in the event included Max Homa (T-7), Erik Compton (T-13), Curtis Luck (T-13) and Lee McCoy (T-13). The Tour will remain in the Bahamas for another week, with opening round of The Bahamas Great Abaco Classic set to begin Sunday.

Getty Images

Mickelson grouped with Z. Johnson at CareerBuilder

By Will GrayJanuary 16, 2018, 8:28 pm

He's not the highest-ranked player in this week's field, but Phil Mickelson will likely draw the biggest crowd at the CareerBuilder Challenge as he makes his first start of 2018. Here are a few early-round, marquee groupings to watch as players battle the three-course rotation in the Californian desert (all times ET):

12:10 p.m. Thursday, 11:40 a.m. Friday, 1:20 p.m. Saturday: Phil Mickelson, Zach Johnson

Mickelson is making his fourth straight trip to Palm Springs, having cracked the top 25 each of the last three times. In addition to their respective amateur partners, he'll play the first three rounds alongside a fellow Masters champ in Johnson, who tied for 14th last week in Hawaii and finished third in this event in 2014.

11:40 a.m. Thursday, 1:20 p.m. Friday, 12:50 p.m. Saturday: Jon Rahm, Bubba Watson

At No. 3 in the world, Rahm is the highest-ranked player teeing it up this week and the Spaniard returns to an event where he finished T-34 last year in his tournament debut. He'll play the first two rounds alongside Watson, who is looking to bounce back from a difficult 2016-17 season and failed to crack the top 50 in two starts in the fall.

11:40 a.m. Thursday, 1:20 p.m. Friday, 12:50 p.m. Saturday: Patrick Reed, Brandt Snedeker

Reed made the first big splash of his career at this event in 2014, shooting three straight rounds of 63 en route to his maiden victory. He'll be joined by Snedeker, whose bid for a Masters bid via the top 50 of the world rankings came up short last month and who hasn't played this event since a missed cut in 2015.

1:10 p.m. Thursday, 12:40 p.m. Friday, 12:10 p.m. Saturday: Patton Kizzire, Bill Haas

Kizzire heads east after a whirlwind Sunday ended with his second win of the season in a six-hole playoff over James Hahn in Honolulu. He'll play alongside Haas, who won this event in both 2010 and 2015 to go with a runner-up finish in 2011 and remains the tournament's all-time leading money winner.

Getty Images

Mackay still a caddie at heart, even with a microphone

By Doug FergusonJanuary 16, 2018, 7:34 pm

HONOLULU – All it took was one week back on the bag to remind Jim ''Bones'' Mackay what he always loved about being a caddie.

It just wasn't enough for this to be the ultimate mic drop.

Mackay traded in his TV microphone at the Sony Open for the 40-pound bag belonging to Justin Thomas.

It was his first time caddying since he split with Phil Mickelson six months ago. Mackay was only a temporary replacement at Waialae for Jimmy Johnson, a good friend and Thomas' regular caddie who has a nasty case of plantar fasciitis that will keep him in a walking boot for the next month.

''The toughest thing about not caddying is missing the competition, not having a dog in the fight,'' Mackay said before the final round. ''There's nothing more rewarding as a caddie, in general terms, when you say, 'I don't like 6-iron, I like 7,' and being right. I miss that part of it.''

The reward now?

''Not stumbling over my words,'' he said. ''And being better than I was the previous week.''

He has done remarkably well since he started his new job at the British Open last summer, except for that time he momentarily forgot his role. Parts of that famous caddie adage – ''Show up, keep up, shut up'' – apparently can apply to golf analysts on the ground.

During the early hours of the telecast, before Johnny Miller came on, Justin Leonard was in the booth.

''It's my job to report on what I see. It's not my job to ask questions,'' Mackay said. ''I forgot that for a minute.''

Leonard was part of a booth discussion on how a comfortable pairing can help players trying to win a major. That prompted Mackay to ask Leonard if he found it helpful at the 1997 British Open when he was trying to win his first major and was paired with Fred Couples in the final round at Royal Troon.

''What I didn't know is we were going to commercial in six seconds,'' Mackay said. ''I would have no way of knowing that, but I completely hung Justin out to dry. He's now got four seconds to answer my long-winded question.''

During the commercial break, the next voice Mackay heard belonged to Tommy Roy, the executive golf producer at NBC.

''Bones, don't ever do that again.''

It was Roy who recognized the value experienced caddies could bring to a telecast. That's why he invited Mackay and John Wood, the caddie for Matt Kuchar, into the control room at the 2015 Houston Open so they could see how it all worked and how uncomfortable it can be to hear directions coming through an earpiece.

Both worked as on-course reporters at Sea Island that fall.

And when Mickelson and Mackay parted ways after 25 years, Roy scooped up the longtime caddie for TV.

It's common for players to move into broadcasting. Far more unusual is for a caddie to be part of the mix. Mackay loves his new job. Mostly, he loves how it has helped elevate his profession after so many years of caddies being looked upon more unfavorably than they are now.

''I want to be a caddie that's doing TV,'' he said. ''That's what I hope to come across as. The guys think this is good for caddies. And if it's good for caddies, that makes me happy. Because I'm a caddie. I'll always be a caddie.''

Not next week at Torrey Pines, where Mickelson won three times. Not a week later in Phoenix, where Mackay lives. Both events belong to CBS.

And not the Masters.

He hasn't missed Augusta since 1994, when Mickelson broke his leg skiing that winter.

''That killed me,'' he said, ''but not nearly as much as it's going to kill me this year. I'll wake up on Thursday of the Masters and I'll be really grumpy. I'll probably avoid television at all costs until the 10th tee Sunday. And I'll watch. But it will be, within reason, the hardest day of my life.''

There are too many memories, dating to when he was in the gallery right of the 11th green in 1987 when Larry Mize chipped in to beat Greg Norman. He caddied for Mize for two years, and then Scott Simpson in 1992, and Mickelson the rest of the way. He was on the bag for Lefty's three green jackets.

Mackay still doesn't talk much about what led them to part ways, except to say that a player-caddie relationship runs its course.

''If you lose that positive dynamic, there's no point in continuing,'' he said. ''It can be gone in six months or a year or five years. In our case, it took 25 years.''

He says a dozen or so players called when they split up, and the phone call most intriguing was from Roy at NBC.

''I thought I'd caddie until I dropped,'' Mackay said.

He never imagined getting yardages and lining up putts for anyone except the golfer whose bag he was carrying. Now it's for an audience that measures in the millions. Mackay doesn't look at it as a second career. And he won't rule out caddying again.

''It will always be tempting,'' he said. ''I'll always consider myself a caddie. Right now, I'm very lucky and grateful to have the job I do.''

Except for that first week in April.

Getty Images

The Social: The end was nigh, then it wasn't

By Jason CrookJanuary 16, 2018, 7:00 pm

The star power at the Sony Open may have been overshadowed by a missile scare, but there were plenty of other social media stories that kept the golf world on its toes this week, including some insight on Tiger Woods from a round with President Obama and some failed trick shots.

All that and more in this week's edition of The Social.

By now you've undoubtedly heard about the false alarm in Hawaii on Saturday, where just about everyone, including most Sony Open participants, woke up to an emergency cell phone alert that there was a ballistic missile heading toward the islands.

Hawaiian emergency management officials eventually admitted the original message was mistakenly sent out, but before they did, people (understandably) freaked out.

As the situation unfolded, some Tour pros took to social media to express their confusion and to let the Twittersphere know how they planned on riding out this threat:

While I would've been in that bathtub under the mattress with John Peterson, his wife, baby and in-laws (wait, how big is this tub?), here's how Justin Thomas reacted to the threat of impending doom:

Yeah, you heard that right.

“I was like ‘there’s nothing I can do,'” Thomas said. ”I sat on my couch and opened up the sliding door and watched TV and listened to music. I was like, if it’s my time, it’s my time.”

Hmmm ... can we just go ahead and award him all the 2018 majors right now? Because if Thomas is staring down death in mid-January, you gotta like the kid's chances on the back nine Sunday at Augusta and beyond.

Before the Hawaiian Missile Crisis of 2018, things were going about as well as they could at Waialae Country Club, starting with the Wednesday pro-am.

Jordan Spieth might have been the third-biggest star in his own group, after getting paired with superstar singer/songwriter/actor Nick Jonas and model/actress Kelly Rohrbach.

You'd be hard-pressed to find a more photogenic group out on the course, and the "Baywatch" star has a gorgeous swing as well, which makes sense, considering she was a former collegiate golfer at Georgetown.

As impressive as that group was, they were somehow outshined by an amateur in another group, former NFL coach June Jones.

Jones, who now coaches the CFL's Hamilton Tiger-Cats, played his round in bare feet and putted with his 5-iron, a remedy he came up with to battle the yips.

Former NFL and current CFL coach June Jones: A master of 5-iron putting?

A post shared by PGA TOUR (@pgatour) on

Considering he made back-to-back birdies at one point during the day, it's safe to say he's won that battle.

With Tiger Woods' return to the PGA Tour about a week away, that sound you hear is the hype train motoring full speed down the tracks.

First, his ex-girlfriend Lindsey Vonn told Sports Illustrated that she hopes this comeback works out for him.

“I loved him and we’re still friends. Sometimes, I wish he would have listened to me a little more, but he’s very stubborn and he likes to go his own way," the Olympic skiier said. "I hope this latest comeback sticks. I hope he goes back to winning tournaments.”

Vonn also mentioned she thinks Woods is very stubborn and that he didn't listen to her enough. That really shouldn't shock anyone who watched him win the 2008 U.S. Open on one leg. Don't think there were a lot of people in his ear telling him that was a great idea at the time.

We also have this report from Golf Channel Insider Tim Rosaforte, stating that the 14-time major champ recently played a round with former president Barack Obama at The Floridian in Palm City, Fla., where he received rave reviews from instructor Claude Harmon.

The Farmers Insurance Open is sure to be must-see TV, but until then, I'm here for all of the rampant speculation and guesses as to how things will go. The more takes the better. Make them extra spicy, please and thanks.

These poor New Orleans Saints fans. Guess the only thing you can do is throw your 65-inch TV off the balcony and get 'em next year.

Here's two more just for good measure.

Farts ... will they ever not be funny?

Perhaps someday, but that day was not early last week, when Tommy Fleetwood let one rip on his European teammates during EurAsia Cup team photos.

Fleetwood went 3-0-0 in the event, helping Europe to a victory over Asia, perhaps by distracting his opponents with the aid of his secret weapon.

Also, how about the diabolical question, "Did you get that?"

Yeah Tommy, we all got that.

Ahhh ... golf trick shot videos. You were fun while you lasted.

But now we’ve officially come to the point in their existence where an unsuccessful attempt is much more entertaining than a properly executed shot, and right on cue, a couple of pros delivered some epic fails.

We start with Sony Open runner-up James Hahn’s preparation for the event, where for some reason he thought he needed to practice a running, jumping, Happy Gilmore-esque shot from the lip of a bunker. It didn’t exactly work out.

Not to be outdone, Ladies European Tour pro Carly Booth attempted the juggling-drive-it-out-of-midair shot made famous by the Bryan Bros, and from the looks of things she might have caught it a little close to the hosel.

PSA to trick-shot artists everywhere: For the sake of the viewing public, if you feel a miss coming on, please make sure the camera is rolling.

Seriously, though, who cares? Definitely not these guys and gals, who took the time to comment, "who cares?" They definitely do not care.