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February 26, 2013

PGA Tour TV ratings plunge without Tiger, Mickelson

Tiger_torreyWe suppose you could file this one under "Duh," but, according to SportsMediaWatch.com, TV ratings for the last three PGA Tour events -- Pebble Beach, the Northern Trust Open and the Accenture Match Play Championship -- have dropped significantly from early in the season.

After a good start to the season, the last six professional golf telecasts on broadcast TV have had double-digit declines in overnight ratings. Sunday telecasts in particular have declined by 43 percent (Pebble Beach), 37 percent (Northern Trust) and 24 percent (Accenture) over the past three weeks.

Of course, before Pebble Beach, weekend golf ratings were off the chart as viewers tuned in to watch Phil Mickelson's win at the Phoenix Open (up 65 percent) and Tiger Woods's win at the Farmers Insurance Open (up 85 percent). The downward trend continued at the Accenture Match Play Championship last weekend after Woods and Rory McIlroy lost in the first round. (Mickelson didn't play the event.) 

Coverage of the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship earned a 1.9 overnight rating on NBC Sunday afternoon, down 24 percent from last year (2.5), but up a tick from 2011 (1.8).

Last year, McIlroy made it to the finals against Hunter Mahan. This year, Matt Kuchar beat Mahan in the finals. According to SportMediaWatch, the Kuchar-Mahan match got the third-lowest Sunday rating ever for the tournament. The only two lower-rated Sundays were in 2011 (Luke Donald vs. Martin Kaymer) and 2010 (Ian Poulter vs. Paul Casey).

Photo: Tiger Woods at the 2013 Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines (Robert Beck/Sports Illustrated).

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