Despite Thrilling 3-Hole Playoff, 2011 PGA Championship Ratings Down

The early ratings are in for the final round of the PGA Championship, and not surprisingly, the 3-hole playoff between Keegan Bradley and Jason Dufner didn’t send golf fans bolting to the nearest TV. According to Austin Karp of the Sports Business Journal – this guy always gets ratings first – Sunday’s final round generated a 4.3 overnight rating. That’s down from last year’s 5.0 – when Martin Kaymer won the title – and down 43 percent from 2009 when Tiger lost to YE Yang in a playoff.

This is not meant to denigrate Bradley’s victory. He was the 108th ranked golfer coming in, and if you bet on him, you won BIG. But as others have said, it wasn’t exactly scintillating golf between two known entities.

But when Bradley, ranked No. 108 in the world and playing in his first major, is in a playoff against a guy who was 0-for-147 on the PGA Tour, it’s not history. It’s happenstance.

In the last 13 golf majors, there have been 13 winners. In individual sports like golf and tennis, there’s a need for dominant players (outlandish ones, such as John Daly, work too). Men’s tennis has enjoyed a brilliant run over the last five years because of the dominance by Federer and Nadal. Women’s tennis has sorely missed the Williams sisters in the last couple years.

Men’s golf surged a decade ago when Tiger was the best player on the planet, but it has struggled the last couple years as Eldrick has faded and nobody has ascended. That’s why there was such hope that Rory McIlroy would be the heir to Tiger’s throne. Only 22, he still could be.

Who knows, maybe Bradley’s the guy?


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