Revealed: PGA Tour has not seen Y-O-Y Sunday viewership increase in over a month

PGA Tour viewers once again turned off by Jake Knapp's maiden win at Mexico Open. 

Revealed: PGA Tour has not seen Y-O-Y Sunday viewership increase in over a month
Revealed: PGA Tour has not seen Y-O-Y Sunday viewership increase in over a…

PGA Tour viewers were reportedly down 23% year-on-year in the final round of the Mexico Open last weekend, marking a fourth consecutive Sunday where viewers have been down. 

American rookie Jake Knapp, 29, clinched his maiden PGA Tour title with a two-shot victory over Finnish rookie Sami Valimaki, 25, on Sunday evening. 

According to Sports Business Journal's Josh Carpenter, broadcaster NBC drew 1.8m in the final round at Vidanta. 

That is reportedly 23% down on the 2.3m viewers that tuned in to Tony Finau's three-shot victory over Jon Rahm in 2023. 

Carpenter also confirmed the final round of the 2022 Mexico Open that was won by Rahm drew 2.28m viewers.

The final round of the 2024 Mexico Open was therefore 23% down on both 2023 and 2022. 

Finau was the highest-ranked player in the field in the 2024 Mexico Open as the World No.24 but the defending champion was never in contention with a T13.

Rahm was not able to participate due to being suspended from the PGA Tour due to his recent move to LIV Golf

One-time PGA Tour winner Mark Lye ripped into the state of the leaderboard in the final round of the 2024 Mexico Open. 

Lye, who won 1983 Bank of Boston Classic on the PGA Tour, considers it was one of the worst-looking leaderboards for a while. 

Many viewers appeared to agree with Lye. 

During the final-round coverage of the Mexico Open, Lye tweeted: 

"I don’t know how the PGA Tour can defend this leaderboard in Mexico. Very good players, but who the hell are they??? This is a new low…."

Lye was hired as an analyst on PGA Tour SiriusXM Radio in 2015, but he was fired from his position in 2022 following negative comments about women's sports. 

PGA Tour Sunday viewers down again

The latest figures paint a worrying picture for the PGA Tour in 2024, especially having recently confirmed a huge $3bn investment from Strategic Sports Group. 

According to Carpenter, "the PGA Tour has not seen a year-over-year Sunday viewership increase since Nick Dunlap's win at The American Express on 21 January."

It remains to be seen what a number of sponsors make of such a worrying trend in the early part of the PGA Tour season. 

The PGA Tour will be hoping to pick things up at this week's Cognizant Classic at The Palm Beaches, formerly the Honda Classic.

There is every chance of that happening though with warm tournament-favourite Rory McIlroy lining up at PGA National for the first time since 2018.

Then again if McIlroy is not in contention heading into the final round, the PGA Tour could be in trouble once more. 

Revealed: PGA Tour has not seen Y-O-Y Sunday viewership increase in over a month

Tiger Woods' third WD in his last five PGA Tour events also contributed significantly to a small dip in final-round viewing figures where the Genesis Invitational was concerned a week before the Mexico Open. 

The 15-time major champion was forced to bow out of the tournament his Tiger Woods Foundation was hosting at famed Riviera midway through the second round.

According to Carpenter, the final round of the Genesis drew 3.245m viewers on CBS. 

With Woods out the picture and not even in the commentary box or able to present the trophy to winner Hideki Matsuyama, viewers were 5% down on the year previous.

A week before that, the controversial WM Phoenix Open drew 2.4m viewers in the final round as opposed to Scottie Scheffler's victory in 2023 that drew 3.67m viewers. 

It should be noted the NFL Super Bowl had already started well before Taylor defeated Charley Hoffman in the playoff at TPC Scottsdale. 

Before that, Wyndham Clark was crowed the winner of the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am after 54 holes with the final-round washed out due to weather on the Sunday.

It is therefore not fair to run a year-over-year comparison for that event. 

But a week before that, a lack of star names in contention for the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines once again saw a big dip in final-round viewers. 

According to Carpenter, CBS drew 1.6m viewers in the final round that week, which was down 27% on the 2.2m viewers for Max Homa's win in 2023. 

There were also 2.7m viewers when Luke List won in a playoff over Will Zalatoris in 2022. 

Surely if McIlroy is in contention at the Cognizant Classic at The Palm Beaches this week, the script will read different where dwindling PGA Tour viewership figures are concerned in 2024. Then again, maybe not.

What do you make of the PGA Tour in 2024? Has it lost its appeal with so many of its members now competing on LIV Golf? Share your thoughts and comments over on the GolfMagic social media channels. 

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