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Tiger effect? Masters' worst Sunday rating since '04

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No Tiger, no Phil and no second-nine drama led to CBS’ worst Masters ratings in a decade.

The final round of the 78th Masters drew a 7.8 overnight rating, according to Austin Karp of Sports Business Daily. Last year’s tournament – won in a dramatic playoff by Adam Scott – turned in a 10.2 rating.

The 7.8 rating – which means that the coverage was seen in 7.8 percent of U.S. homes – was the worst since the 2004 Masters, when Phil Mickelson broke through for his first career major. That tournament, however, also coincided with Easter Sunday. (The holiday also affected ratings in 2007, 2009 and 2012.) 

There were a number of factors for this year’s ratings decline. Woods, the game’s biggest draw, skipped the event for the first time in his career because of back surgery. Mickelson missed only his second career Masters cut. And winner Bubba Watson carried a two-shot lead into the second nine and never was seriously challenged, making five consecutive pars to close out a three-shot victory. 

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Via Karp, this is how the past 10 Masters have rated: 7.8, 10.2, 8.1, 10.4, 12.0, 8.8, 8.9, 9.1, 9.0, 10.3 and 7.3.

The best Masters overnight rating since 1997 remains Woods’ win in 2001, which drew a 12.9.

Over the first two days of the Masters, ESPN averaged a 1.6 U.S. household rating and 2.2 million viewers – both of which were down from last year’s averages of a 2.5 rating and 3.5 million viewers. The opening round’s 1.5 rating was a 25 percent decline from 2013, and the average audience of 2 million viewers was down 29 percent from a year ago.

The third round, broadcast by CBS, received a 4.4 rating, down from 6.3 in 2013. 

On Sunday, the most viewers tuned in from 6:30 to 7 p.m. (9.7 rating), when Watson put the finishing touches on his second green jacket in the past three years.