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%.

UPCOMING LIVE EVENTS ON GOLF CHANNEL AND NBC

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 Web.com Tour.
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What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:

Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

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Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

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Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

The Ryder Cup topped his list.

Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

“Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”



McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

“The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

More bulletin board material, too.

Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.

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Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions

By Rex HoggardJanuary 22, 2018, 9:14 pm

Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.

The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.

It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.

The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.

“I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”

Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.