Golf Channel Scores Most-Watched Year Ever For 3rd Consecutive Year

By Golf Channel Public RelationsJanuary 7, 2014, 4:20 pm

For the third consecutive year, Golf Channel posted the most-watched year in the 19-year history of the network in 2013 with 14% year-over-year increase in total day average viewership, according to data released by The Nielsen Company (24-hour Total Day 6AM-6AM). This milestone was built upon the momentum of most-watched years in 2011 and 2012, and has resulted in a 54% increase in total-day average viewership over the three-year span since Golf Channel joined the NBC Sports Group.

“Golf Channel is committed to quality programming and our increasingly loyal audience continues to respond by watching in record numbers,” said Mike McCarley, President of Golf Channel. “For fans of golf much of Golf Channel’s programming has become indispensable, whether it is extensive coverage of golf’s marquee events and tournaments from around the globe or our everyday focus on topics that resonate with avid golfers, the audience is consuming more and more of Golf Channel’s content on all platforms.”

2013 VIEWERSHIP HIGHLIGHTS

  • Golf Channel’s record viewership averaged 108,000 viewers per minute in total day for 2013, which places it fifth among sports networks. Additionally, Golf Channel ranked third, behind ESPN and ESPN2, for nearly one quarter of the year (79 days).
  • Golf Channel set records throughout the year with first, second and third quarter all setting “most-watched” milestones, as well as seven different monthly “most-watched” marks, including January, February, March, April, May, August and October.
  • Golf Channel is the fastest-growing cable network since 2011 when it became a part of the NBC Sports Group (networks in 80+ million homes).
  • Additionally, Golf Channel’s viewership saw significant increases in all key demos, including Men 25-54 up 13% YOY (+30% over 3-yr span), Adults 25-54 up 10% YOY (+32% over 3-yr span), Adults 35-64 up 6% YOY (+43% over 3-yr span) and Households up 15% YOY (+55% over 3-yr span).

TOURNAMENT COVERAGE

A driving force behind Golf Channel’s success in 2013 was that every major tour saw year-over-year viewership increases.

  • PGA TOUR’s 2013 FedExCup Season was up 8% YOY (+81% over 3-yr span) and saw a record 19 events break 5 million unique viewers (up from 16 events in 2012), led by the Farmers Insurance Open with 9.3 million unique viewers.
  • PGA TOUR’s FedExCup Playoffs were the second most-watched in its seven-year history with 12.4 million unique viewers watching some or all of the action on Golf Channel.
  • LPGA Tour continued its surge in momentum with a 14% increase YOY (+46% over 3-yr span), making it the Tour’s second most-watched year ever.
  • Web.com Tour was up 34% YOY (+70% over 3-yr span), its most-watched year ever.
  • Champions Tour was up 17% YOY (+18% over 3-yr span), its most-watched year ever.
  • European Tour was up 1% YOY (+26% over 3-yr span), its most-watched year ever.

NEWS, ORIGINALS & INSTRUCTION

Golf Channel continued its commitment to producing high-quality programming, which resulted in record viewership, including:

  • Morning Drive up 26% YOY (+169% over 3-yr span, 2010 timeslot).
  • Golf Central up 17% YOY (+98% over 3-yr span).
  • Golf Central’s Live From coverage up 17% YOY (+30% over 3-yr span), including most-watched Masters Week, The Players Week, PGA Championship Week, U.S. Open Week from an East Coast venue and Open Championship Week since event was moved to cable in 2010.
  • Instructional programming up 14% YOY (+33% over 3-yr span), posting its most-watched year ever.
  • Original Series (FehertyIn Play with Jimmy Roberts, Big Break) up 2% YOY (+18% over 3-yr span), contributing to Golf Channel’s Monday primetime delivering its most-watched year ever.

GOLF CHANNEL DIGITAL PLATFORMS POST BEST YEAR EVER

Golf Channel fans also came in record numbers to GolfChannel.com and Golf Channel Mobile, as well as to Golf Live Extra, live streaming launched in 2013.

  • GolfChannel.com unique users were up 32% YOY, along with page views (45%) and video starts (25%).
  • GolfChannel.com delivered more than 3 million uniques for the first time ever in March and continued that streak for six consecutive months through August.
  • Golf Channel Mobile unique users grew 49% YOY, driving page views (78%) and video starts (59%) to even larger increases.
  • Golf Channel Digital broke its best quarter ever mark in first, second and third quarter.
  • Golf Channel Digital scored record weeks during all four of golf’s majors, as well as for THE PLAYERS, FedExCup Playoffs and Presidents Cup.
  • Golf Live Extra streaming delivered 4.6 million live starts and more than 90 million minutes watched in the authenticated service’s inaugural year.
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Tiger Tracker: 147th Open Championship

By Tiger TrackerJuly 20, 2018, 2:30 pm

Tiger Woods shot his second consecutive 70 on Friday at Carnoustie and enters weekend play at even par for the championship, still in contention for major No. 15.


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Scott and Sunesson a one-week partnership

By Rex HoggardJuly 20, 2018, 2:13 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Adam Scott has been in between caddies for the last month and went with a bold stand-in for this week’s Open Championship, coaxing veteran looper Fanny Sunesson out of retirement to work for him at Carnoustie.

Sunesson caddied for Nick Faldo in his prime, as the duo won four major titles together. She also worked for Henrik Stenson and Sergio Garcia before a back injury forced her to retire.

But for this week’s championship, Scott convinced the Swede to return to the caddie corps. The results have been impressive, with the Australian following an opening 71 with a second-round 70 for a tie for 16th place.


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


“It's been going great. Fanny is, obviously, a fantastic caddie, and to be able to have that experience out there with me is certainly comforting,” Scott said. “We've gotten along really well. She's picked up on my game quickly, and I think we think about things in a very similar way.”

Scott was also asked about a potential long-term partnership between the duo, but he didn’t sound hopeful.

“It's just for this week,” he said. “It would be up to her, but I don't think she's making plans of a comeback. I was being a bit opportunistic in contacting her and coaxing her out of retirement, I guess. But I think she's having a good week. We'll just take it one week at the moment.”

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After tense Augusta Sunday, Rory ready to be aggressive

By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 1:51 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Rory McIlroy temporarily lost his superpowers during the Masters.  

In one of the most surprising rounds of the year, he played tentatively and carefully during the final day. Squaring off against the major-less Patrick Reed, on the brink of history, with the backing of nearly the entire crowd, it was McIlroy who shrank in the moment, who looked like the one searching for validation. He shot a joyless 74 and wound up six shots behind Reed.

No, the final round was nowhere near as dispiriting as the finale in 2011, but McIlroy still sulked the following week. He binge-watched TV shows. Devoured a few books. Guzzled a couple of bottles of wine. His pity party lasted a few days, until his wife, Erica, finally dragged him out of the house for a walk.

Some deeper introspection was required, and McIlroy revealed a healthier self-analysis Friday at Carnoustie. He diagnosed what went wrong at Augusta, and then again two months later at the U.S. Open, where he blew himself out of the tournament with an opening 80.

“I was worrying too much about the result, not focusing on the process,” he said. “Sunday at Augusta was a big learning curve for me because, even if I hadn’t won that tournament, but I went down swinging and aggressive and committing to every shot, I would have walked away a lot happier.”


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


And so McIlroy has a new mantra this week at The Open.

Let it go.

Don’t hold back. Don’t worry about the repercussions. Don’t play scared.

“I’m committed to making sure, even if I don’t play my best golf and don’t shoot the scores I want, I’m going to go down swinging, and I’m going to go down giving my best,” he said. “The result is the byproduct of all the little things you do to lead up to that. Sometimes I’ve forgotten that, and I just need to get back in that mindset.”

It’s worked through two rounds, even after the cool, damp conditions led McIlroy to abandon his ultra-aggressive strategy. He offset a few mistakes with four birdies, shooting a second consecutive 69 to sit just a couple of shots off the lead.

During a sun-splashed first round, McIlroy gleefully banged driver on almost every hole, flying or skirting the bunkers that dot these baked-out, undulating fairways. He wasn’t particularly accurate, but he also didn’t need to be, as the thin, wispy rough enabled every player to at least advance their approach shots near the green.

Friday’s weather presented a different challenge. A steady morning rain took some of the fire out of parched fairways, but the cooler temperatures also reduced much of the bombers’ hang time. Suddenly, all of the bunkers were in play, and McIlroy needed to adjust his driver-heavy approach (he hit only six) on the fly.

“It just wasn’t worth it,” he said.

McIlroy hit a few “skanky” shots, in his words, but even his bigger misses – on the sixth and 17th holes – were on the proper side, allowing him to scramble for par and keep the round going.

It’s the fifth time in his career that he’s opened a major with back-to-back rounds in the 60s. He’s gone on to win three of the previous four – the lone exception that disastrous final round (80) at Augusta in 2011.

“I don’t want to say easy,” he said, “but it’s felt comfortable.”

The weekend gets uncomfortable for everyone, apparently even four-time major winners who, when in form, ooze confidence and swagger.

Once again McIlroy has that look at a major.

The only thing left to do?

Let it go.

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Z. Johnson may have to pay for the jet home

By Rex HoggardJuly 20, 2018, 1:23 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Zach Johnson will have some bragging rights when he gets back to the ultimate golf frat house on Friday after a second-round 67 moved him into the lead at The Open.

Johnson is rooming with Jordan Spieth, Jason Dufner, Kevin Kisner, Jimmy Walker, Justin Thomas and Rickie Fowler this week at Carnoustie. It’s a tradition that began two years ago at Royal Troon.

Kisner joked on Thursday after he took the first-round lead that the perks for the house/tournament front-runner were limited: “I probably get to eat first,” he said.


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


There is, however, one running wager.

“Two years ago we, I don't know if you call it bet, but agreement that, if you win, you get the jet and you buy it, so we go home,” said Johnson, who added that because of varying travel arrangements, the wager might not be needed this year. “I didn't pay last year. Somebody else did.”

Spieth won last year’s championship at Royal Birkdale.

Despite the expense, Johnson said he didn’t know how much it costs to charter a private flight back to the United States, but it’s a good problem to have.

“I’d be happy to fork it over,” he smiled.