Rory McIlroy’s climactic win on Sunday in the 2014 PGA Championship at Valhalla where he edged out Phil Mickelson by one stroke provided the biggest TV ratings for the tournament in five years.
CBS Sports reported that the final round, which featured a global leaderboard of Irishman McIlroy, Swedish golfer Henrik Stenson, and two Californians in Mickelson and Ricky Fowler, produced a 36% spike in ratings over last year’s PGA championship won by Jason Dufner at Oak Hill. Sunday averaged a 6.0 household share, compared to 4.4 in 2013. The last half hour of the broadcast registered a remarkable 9.2 rating.
As a comparison, NBC’s Sunday Night Football, the most watched show on television, garners an average 12.8 rating, CBS reported.
This is all very good for golf as it has struggled to find an audience since the recent demise of Tiger Woods, who has played in few events since being sidelined by back problems over the last year. Tiger, who failed to make the tournament’s cut, continues to stall in his quest to overcome Jack Nicklaus’s record of 18 Major Championships. Tiger, now 38, has fallen behind “The Golden Bear” in number of majors won in terms of age.
Rory McIlroy winning his fourth major puts him in company with Old Tom Morris, Tiger Woods, Bobby Jones, and Jack Nicklaus as having accomplished that feat by age 25. McIlroy now has two consecutive major victories having won the British Open last month at Hoylake. Moreover, he is coming off a big win last week at the Bridgestone Invitational.
The young Irish golfer is now showing a steely-eyed determination in his final rounds and golf fans love a cold-hearted slayer. Most likely this should boost golf ratings in the near future and perhaps for years to come. Staying on top in golf is difficult and there are no guarantees. Nevertheless, golf loves a winner and if Rory keeps pace viewers will keep tuning in.