Golf Channel Posts Most-Watched April

By Golf Channel Public RelationsApril 28, 2016, 1:25 pm

Building Upon Four Straight Quarters of Viewership Momentum, April Shows Growth Across Live Tournament and Programming Slate


ORLANDO, Fla. (April 28, 2016) – As golf’s traditional season heats up, Golf Channel’s momentum in 2016 continues to build with the network’s most-watched April ever.  For 24-hour Total Day (6AM-6AM), 137,000 average viewers per minute were tuned into Golf Channel in April, the most-watched April in the 21-year history of the network and a +4% increase vs. 2015 (132,000). Ultimately, Golf Channel drew nearly 15.8 million unique viewers in the month of April, according to data released by The Nielsen Company. 

“Golf Channel’s most-watched April ever is a clear indication that there is interest in the young, energizing stars of the game and the result of our investments in live, exclusive quality programming. Those investments will continue to pay dividends as the year progresses,” said Mike McCarley, President, Golf, NBC Sports Group. “The viewership increases across tournaments, news, instruction and entertainment programming is evidence that our loyal audience is turning to Golf Channel in record numbers.”

The month saw significant viewership growth across tournament coverage of all the major tours and the network’s diverse programming slate, including the following year-over-year gains:

  • Tournament Coverage: +10%
    • PGA TOUR: +2%
    • LPGA Tour: +14%
    • European Tour: +43%
    • PGA TOUR Champions: +18%
    • Year-to-date, Golf Channel and NBC increases in PGA TOUR coverage:
      • NBC: +20% in 2016
      • Golf Channel: +13% in 2016
      • Golf Channel’s Masters Week coverage: third most-watched ever
      • Golf Central: +18%
      • Instruction: +8%
      • Original Programming:
        • Feherty: Jason Day (premiered Monday, March 28) is fifth most-watched episode ever for the series (372,000 average viewers per minute, Live+3)
        • ’86 (premiered Tuesday, April 3) is the most-watched Golf Channel Films project since Arnie in 2014 (370,000 average viewers per minute, Live+3)
        • Millennial Viewership: Persons 25-34 +50%
        • And as the calendar month ends, similar growth is anticipated for Golf Channel Digital platforms and Golf Channel’s portfolio of golf lifestyle brands serving golfers on and off the course

Golf Channel’s record April comes after the network posted four consecutive quarters of 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%.


Golf Channel will carry momentum of this record viewership into an unprecedented slate of live golf coverage and in-depth news and analysis this year, including:

  • The Players (May 12-15): The PGA TOUR’s annual flagship event, THE PLAYERS Championship will see NBC Sports Group dedicate more than 20 hours to live tournament competition across Golf Channel and NBC. The 2015 Players arguably became golf’s most exciting tournament all year, where Rickie Fowler staged a heroic final round charge to ultimately outlast Sergio Garcia and Kevin Kisner to win in a memorable four-hole playoff. The Players always commands one of the strongest fields of the season and features the famed three-hole finishing stretch, including the iconic par-3 17th island green.
  • NCAA Men’s and Women’s Golf National Championships (May 20-June 1): Contested in back-to-back weeks, the 2016 NCAA Division I Men’s and Women’s Golf Championships will feature the game’s top collegiate golfers and universities vying for individual and team championship honors. Golf Channel will originate more than 100 hours of comprehensive news and tournament coverage from Eugene Country Club in Eugene, Oregon.
  • KPMG Women’s PGA Championship (June 9-12): Staged at Sahalee Country Club just outside of Seattle, Golf Channel and NBC will air nearly 40 hours of news and tournament programming dedicated to the second women’s major championship of 2016, featuring a world-class international field.
  • Golf Channel & NBC Sports Group’s Unmatched 12-Week Stretch (July – October): Beginning in July, Golf Channel and NBC Sports will embark on an unprecedented 12-week stretch of marquee events, beginning with the network’s inaugural coverage of The Open, being contested at Royal Troon in Scotland; golf’s return to the Olympics with full coverage of both the men’s and women’s competitions in Rio; the conclusion of the PGA Tour’s season with the FedExCup Playoffs; and culminating with the 2016 Ryder Cup at Hazeltine outside Minneapolis. Additionally, Golf Channel and NBC Sports will carry exclusive, live coverage of several major championships and prominent events, including: its first coverage of The Senior Open and RICOH Women’s British Open; the LPGA Tour’s UL International Crown and final major, Evian Championship; comprehensive news and analysis with Golf Central’s Live From the PGA Championship; in addition to coverage of regular season events on the PGA TOUR, LPGA Tour, European Tour, PGA TOUR Champions, and Tour.

Els honored with Heisman Humanitarian Award

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 10, 2017, 11:41 pm

The annual Heisman Trophy award ceremony is one of the biggest moments in any football season, but there was a touching non-football moment as well on Saturday night as Ernie Els received the Heisman Humanitarian Award.

The award, which had been announced in August, recognized Els' ongoing efforts on behalf of his Els for Autism foundation. Els received the award at Manhattan's PlayStation Theater, where Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield won the Heisman Trophy.

Els, 47, founded Els for Autism in 2009 with his wife after their son, Ben, was diagnosed with autism. Their efforts have since flourished into a 26-acre campus in Jupiter, Fla., and the creation of the Els Center for Excellence in 2015.

The Heisman Humanitarian Award has been given out since 2006. Past recipients include NBA center David Robinson, NFL running back Warrick Dunn, soccer star Mia Hamm and NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon.

A native of South Africa, Els won the U.S. Open in 1994 and 1997 and The Open in 2002 and 2012. He has won 19 times on the PGA Tour and was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2011.

Getty Images

Monday finish for Joburg Open; Sharma leads by 4

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 10, 2017, 8:57 pm

Rain, lightning and hail pushed the Joburg Open to a Monday finish, with India’s Shubhankar Sharma holding a four-stroke lead with 11 holes to play in Johannesburg.

Play is scheduled to resume at 7:30 a.m. local time.

South Africa’s Erik van Rooyen will have a 3-foot putt for birdie to move within three shots of Sharma wen play resumes at the Randpark Golf Club. Sarma is at 22 under par.

Tapio Pulkkanen of Finland and James Morrison of England are tied for third at 14 under. Pulkkanen has 10 holes remaining, Morrison 11.

The top three finishers who are not already exempt, will get spots in next year’s Open Championship at Carnoustie.



Stricker, O'Hair team to win QBE Shootout

By Will GrayDecember 10, 2017, 8:55 pm

It may not count in the official tally, but Steve Stricker is once again in the winner's circle on the PGA Tour.

Stricker teamed with Sean O'Hair to win the two-person QBE Shootout, as the duo combined for a better-ball 64 in the final round to finish two shots clear of Graeme McDowell and Shane Lowry. It's the second win in this event for both men; Stricker won with Jerry Kelly back in 2009 while O'Hair lifted the trophy with Kenny Perry in 2012.

Stricker and O'Hair led wire-to-wire in the 54-hole, unofficial event after posting a 15-under 57 during the opening-round scramble.

"We just really gelled well together," Stricker said. "With his length the first day, getting some clubs into the greens, some short irons for me, we just fed off that first day quite a bit. We felt comfortable with one another."

Full-field scores from the QBE Shootout

Stricker won 12 times during his PGA Tour career, most recently at the 2012 Tournament of Champions. More recently the 50-year-old has been splitting his time on the PGA Tour Champions and captained the U.S. to a victory at the Presidents Cup in October. O'Hair has four official Tour wins, most recently at the 2011 RBC Canadian Open.

Pat Perez and Brian Harman finished alone in third, four shots behind Stricker and O'Hair. Lexi Thompson and Tony Finau, the lone co-ed pairing in the 12-team event, finished among a tie for fourth.

Getty Images

Wie takes shot at LPGA dress code in crop top

By Grill Room TeamDecember 10, 2017, 5:33 pm

The new LPGA dress code got mixed reviews when it was announced in July, and Michelle Wie is taking full advantage of her offseason with no restrictions.

The 28-year-old former U.S. Women's Open champion is keeping her game sharp while back in her home state of Hawaii, but couldn't help taking a shot at the rules while doing it, posting a photo to Instagram of her playing golf in a crop top with the caption, "Offseason = No dress code fine."

Offseason = No dress code fines #croptopdroptop

A post shared by Michelle Wie (@themichellewie) on

Wie isn't the first to voice her displeasure with the rules. Lexi Thompson posted a similar photo and caption to Instagram shortly after the policy was announced.