USGA Reaps Open TV Bonanza

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BACKFLIPS IN BLUE JACKETS: The blue-blazer crowd in Far Hills, N.J., is celebrating the success of the first U.S. Open on a truly public golf course. The U.S. Golf Association proudly reported that 55 million television viewers watched the proceedings at Bethpage Black over the weekend, more than for any previous Open. Sundays Nielsen rating was 8.9 with a 22 percent share of the homes with TVs on (one rating point equals 900,000 television homes).
 
The Tiger Effect seemed to be in full force. In 2000, the Sunday rating for Tigers first U.S. Open win at Pebble Beach was 8.1 with a 21 share, only 10 percent less than the Bethpage party. Compare that to Retief Goosens win at Southern Hills last year, which got a Sunday rating of 7.2 with a 19 share.
 
TOUR EDGE GOES STRAIGHT: Some keen observers have said that distance is not as much of a threat to golf as any technology that keeps the ball straight. Chicago-area equipment company Tour Edge Golf is betting that most recreational golfers will overcome any philosophical concerns to try the companys new Bazooka F4 fairway woods.
 
The new clubs boast so-called Draw Enhancing Technology and a low center of gravity to help get the ball up and combat slicing tendencies. The clubs are available in five lofts for right-handers, four for lefties. Suggested retail will be $199.99.
 
PINNACLE GOES THE DISTANCE: It may not have gotten the same coverage as the interdepartmental football game, but the recent golf competition between the New York Police Department and the Fire Department of New York had its heart in the same right place. At Eisenhower Park in East Meadow, N.Y., New Yorks finest and most fiery squared off June 15 in a long-drive tilt sponsored by Pinnacle, the distance golf ball brand of the Acushnet Co.. The effort raised more than $11,000 to the widows and childrens funds that assist survivors of policemen and firefighters who died in the September 11 attacks.