Golf Channel Posts Fourth Straight Quarter of Increasing Viewership Growth

By Golf Channel Public RelationsMarch 30, 2016, 6:55 pm

Golf Channel continues to build upon its momentum with four consecutive quarters posting year-over-year growth.  Golf Channel’s first quarter in 2016 was up +15% vs. 2015 for viewership, building upon last year’s increasing growth in second quarter of +3%, third quarter of +8%, and fourth quarter of +13%. For 24-hour Total Day (6AM-6AM), 110,000 average viewers per minute were tuned into Golf Channel in the first quarter, representing the 15% year-over-year increase, as well as a 19% increase with people 25-54 (31,000), according to data released by The Nielsen Company.

 NBC’s PGA TOUR coverage is off to a strong start in 2016 with average viewership +32% and people 25-54 +31%. Through 12 broadcasts, NBC is averaging 2.64 million average viewers and 657,000 people 25-54.*

Golf Channel’s first quarter highlights include:

  • Golf Channel’s live golf coverage peaked in first quarter with 1.8 million average viewers on Sunday afternoon during the semifinals of the WGC-Dell Match Play and coverage averaged 1.1 million viewers, the best at this event since 2008.
  • PGA TOUR live coverage on Golf Channel is +4% YOY (483,000 average viewers), +9% with P25-54 (101,000 average viewers)  
  • Golf Channel’s primetime is +27% (151,000 average viewers), driven in part by the sixth season premiere of Feherty interviewing Jordan Spieth, which is now the most-watched episode of the critically acclaimed series (436,000 average viewers, Live+3 Day).
  • Live coverage of the European Tour was up 65% and LPGA Tour was up 3%.
  • Golf Central saw its strongest first quarter since 2013, up 29% with average viewers and 30% for people 25-54 vs. last year.
  • Morning Drive was up 27% with people 25-54 vs. 2015.

UPCOMING LIVE EVENTS ON GOLF CHANNEL AND NBC

Golf Channel will carry momentum of this record viewership into the beginning of second quarter with a slate of live golf coverage and in-depth news and analysis, including:

  • ANA Inspiration, LPGA Tour’s first major championship – Coverage is on Golf Channel this Thursday, March 31 – Sunday, April 3. In 2016, Golf Channel and NBC have coverage of four of five women’s major championships, UL International Crown, and the Olympics.
  • Drive, Chip and Putt National Finals – On Sunday, April 3, 80 junior golfers from across the U.S. and Canada will gather at Augusta National Golf Club to kick off Masters week with the 2016 Drive, Chip and Putt National Finals, airing live on Golf Channel beginning at 8 a.m. ET. In partnership with the Masters Tournament, the USGA and the PGA of America, the youth golf initiative highlights the 40 boys and 40 girls who have emerged from this past year’s more than 300 qualifying events.
  • Golf Central Live From The Masters– Beginning on Monday, April 4, Golf Central Live From the Masters will help prepare viewers for the first men’s major championship of the year with nearly 60 live hours throughout the week focusing on emerging storylines, analysis, features and guest interviews. Guests scheduled to appear throughout the week are former Masters champions Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson, Ben Crenshaw and Raymond Floyd.
  • ‘86 – Premiering on Tuesday, April 5 at 9 p.m. ET, Golf Channel Films will present ’86, chronicling Jack Nicklaus’ come-from-behind victory to secure his record 18th and final major in the 1986 Masters, which celebrates its 30th anniversary this year. The documentary will feature interviews with Nicklaus, his wife Barbara, their son Steve, daughter Nan, and oldest son, Jack II – who caddied for his father that week in 1986, – members of the broadcast team, fellow professionals, caddies, media members, volunteers and patrons present on that memorable Sunday.
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PGA Tour, LPGA react to video review rules changes

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 11, 2017, 1:32 pm

The USGA and R&A announced on Monday updates to the Rules of Golf, including no longer accepting call-ins relating to violations. The PGA Tour and LPGA, which were both part of a working group of entities who voted on the changes, issued the following statements:

PGA Tour:

The PGA Tour has worked closely with the USGA and R&A on this issue in recent years, and today's announcement is another positive step to ensure the Rules of Golf align with how the game is presented and viewed globally. The PGA Tour will adopt the new Local Rule beginning January 1, 2018 and evolve our protocols for reviewing video evidence as outlined.

LPGA:

We are encouraged by the willingness of the governing bodies to fully vet the issues and implement real change at a pace much quicker than the sport has seen previously. These new adaptations, coupled with changes announced earlier this year, are true and meaningful advances for the game. The LPGA plans to adopt fully the protocols and new Local Rule as outlined.

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Sharma closes on Monday, wins Joburg Open

By Associated PressDecember 11, 2017, 12:43 pm

JOHANNESBURG – Shubhankar Sharma won his first European Tour title by a shooting 3-under 69 Monday in the final round of the weather-delayed Joburg Open.

The 21-year-old Indian resumed his round on the eighth green after play was halted early Sunday afternoon because of storms. He parred that hole, birdied No. 9 and made par on every hole on the back nine.


Full-field scores from the Joburg Open


Sharma finished at 23-under 264, three strokes ahead of the pack, and qualified for next year's British Open, too.

''I actually wasn't going to come here about a week ago ... so I'm really happy that I came,'' said Sharma, who shot 61 in the second round. ''I don't think I'm ever going forget my first time in South Africa.''

Erik van Rooyen (66) was second, three strokes ahead of Shaun Norris (65) and Tapio Pulkkanen (68).

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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 11, 2017, 12:30 pm

Sharma among three Open qualifiers at Joburg Open

By Will GrayDecember 11, 2017, 12:16 pm

Shubhankar Sharma earned his first career European Tour win at the rain-delayed Joburg Open and punched his ticket to The Open in the process.

Sharma returned to Randpark Golf Club Monday morning after storms washed out much of the scheduled final day of play. Beginning the re-start with a four-shot lead, he hung on to win by three over South Africa's Erik Van Rooyen.

Both men can make travel plans for Carnoustie next summer, as this was the second event in the Open Qualifying Series with three spots available for players not otherwise exempt who finished inside the top 10. The final spot went to Shaun Norris, who tied for third with Finland's Tapio Pulkkanen but had a higher world ranking (No. 192) than Pulkkanen (No. 197) entering the week.

The Joburg Open was the final official European Tour event of the year. The next tournament in the Open Qualifying Series will be the SMBC Singapore Open in January, where four spots at Carnoustie will be up for grabs.