The compelling weekend of the US Open at The Country Club in Brookline, Mass., Last week brought in the TV viewers – despite internet complaints of the shared broadcast among NBC, USA and Peacock and the quality of the broadcasts.
An average of more than 5.4 million watched Matthew Fitzpatrick out-duel Will Zalatoris spirit Scottie Scheffler on the back nine of the final round, the most for an East Coast US Open since 2013 at Merion and an increase of 65 percent from the 2020 Open at Winged Foot.
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The US Open also won the battle ratings for all Sunday sports events. It peaked at 9.2 million viewers from 6: 30-6: 45 pm when Fitzpatrick, Zalatoris and Scheffler played the final holes.
Jacksonville was the third-highest metered market in the country for the final round, with a 4.2 rating and 15 share, behind Boston (5.3 / 19) and West Palm Beach (4.9 / 17).
Saturday’s viewership, with Rory McIlroy and defending champion Jon Rahm still in the mix, had an average audience of 3.6 million on NBC and Peacock, up 16 percent from Winged Foot in 2020.
US Opens on the West Coast at venues such as Pebble Beach and Torrey Pines (where Rahm won last year) draw better betters because the broadcast windows are in prime time on the East Coast.
Coverage on Peacock was the most-streamed golf event in NBC sports history, with 244 million minutes. That was an increase of 74 percent over last year.
USGA CEO Mike Whan got an earful on social media about NBC’s high number of commercial breaks and uneven narrative. The last hour of the final round was commercial-free.
“I’m on it!” Whan tweeted from his personal account in response to the criticism. “We have the best sports production team in the world here with our partner NBC Sports (Olympics, Super Bowl, etc.) and if the amount of interruptions are problematic, we will work with our partner to do better.”
Purse doubles for women’s PGA
The money is getting very good in golf in all demographics.
Two weeks after players in the US Women’s Open played for a $ 10 million purse that doubled last year’s take, the PGA of America, LPGA Tour and sponsor KPMG announced that this week’s KPMG Women’s PGA Championship purse has also been doubled, going from $ 4.5 million to $ 9 million.
The winner of the second-oldest women’s major championship at Congressional in Potomac, Md., Will earn $ 1.35 million.
“When the PGA of America partnered with KPMG and the LPGA Tour in 2015, we promised to elevate this event by increasing the purse, conducting it at venues with a history of hosting men’s major championships such as Congressional Country Club, and delivering broadcast network coverage with NBC Sports, ”said PGA of American president Jim Richerson in a statement. “As part of our shared commitment to support and showcase women’s golf, we have delivered on those promises.”
Congressional is the latest in a string of historic courses to have hosted the Women’s PGA. Since 2014, it has been played at the Atlanta Athletic Club, Aronimink, Hazeltine National, Kemper Lakes, Olympia Fields, Sahalee and the Westchester Country Club.
Future sites will be Baltusrol Golf Club next year and Congressional in 2027.
Thomas declines drop
Some players might have taken the stance that got them a drop from near a storm drain in the fourth fairway of The Country Club last week.
Justin Thomas, in all honesty, could not do it.
Thomas hit his drive beside the drain but told a rules official that it did not interfere with his swing. He could have aimed in a different direction and perhaps gotten relief but could not bring himself to do it.
Thomas had a slight downhill lie and chunked the ball into a bunker. He eventually made bogey and shot 2-over 72.
“In the spirit of the game, I wasn’t going to hit the drain,” he said after the round. “I felt like I could very easily have told [the rules official] that I was going to and got a free drop, but I was not. ”
In a statement, the USGA explained “if the obstruction is close enough to distract the player but does not otherwise interfere, there is no relief under the Rule” that dictates when relief can be taken.
No. 90 for Keystone State
This week’s US Senior Open at the Saucon Valley Country Club’s Old Course is the 90th USGA national championship to be played in Pennsylvania, the most all time. California is second with 85.
There have been nine US Open at Oakmont and 17 in all, 14 US Amateurs, 14 US Women’s Amateurs and nine US Women’s Opens.
Every national championship has been contested in Pennsylvania with the exception of the US men’s and women’s Four-Balls, created in 2015.
One of the US Amateurs in Pennsylvania was in 1951 in Saucon Valley, won by the late Billy Maxwell, who was the owner of the Hyde Park Golf Club.
Event: Travelers Championship, Thursday-Sunday, TPC River Highlands, Cromwell, Conn.
At stake: $ 8.3 million purse ($ 1,494,000 and 500 FedEx Cup points to the winner).
Defending champion: Harris English.
TV: Golf Channel (Thursday-Friday, 3-6 pm; Saturday-Sunday, 1-3 pm); CBS (Saturday-Sunday, 3-6 pm).
Area players entered: Jonas Blixt, English, Brian Harman, Zach Johnson, Patton Kizzire, Russell Knox, Keith Mitchell, Trey Mullinax, JT Poston, Doc Redman, Sam Ryder, Greyson Sigg, Jared Wolfe.
Notable: English outlasted Kramer Hickok in an epic eight-hole playoff with a birdie on the final hole. The two played No. 18 six times and No. 17 twice, and matched pars seven times. … Rory McIlroy, Scottie Scheffler, Justin Thomas, Jordan Spieth, Brooks Koepka, Patrick Cantlay, Xander Schaufele and Tony Finau lead the field.
Event: KPMG LPGA Women’s PGA Championship, Thursday-Sunday, Congressional Country Club, Potomac, Md.
At stake: $ 9 million purse ($ 1.35 million to the winner).
Defending champion: Nelly Korda.
TV: Golf Channel (Thursday-Friday, 11 am-3pm); NBC (Saturday-Sunday, 1-4 pm).
Area players entered: Jennifer Borocz, Stephanie Connelly-Eiswerth, Chella Choi, Mel Reid.
Notable: Korda beat Lizette Salas by three shots. … Area teaching professionals Connelly-Eiswerth and Borocz are in the field through their play in the LPGA Professionals National Championship.
PGA TOUR CHAMPIONS
Event: US Senior Open, Thursday-Sunday, Saucon Valley Country Club, Old Course, Bethlehem, Pa.
At stake: $ 4 million purse ($ 720,000 to the winner).
Defending champion: Jim Furyk.
TV: Peacock (Thursday-Friday, 2-7 pm; Saturday-Sunday, 2-3 pm); NBC (Saturday-Sunday, 3-7 pm).
Area players entered: David Duval, Fred Funk, Furyk, Davis Love III, Vijay Singh.
Notable: Furyk shot 64-66 in the middle rounds to set an Open scoring record and then closed with a 71 to hold off Retief Goosen and Mike Weir by three shots.
KORN FERRY TOUR
Event: Live and Work in Maine Open, Thursday-Sunday, Falmouth Country Club, Falmouth, Me.
At stake: $ 750,000 purse ($ 135,000 to the winner).
Defending champion: Chad Ramey.
Area players entered: Chris Baker, Chandler Blanchet, AJ Crouch, Taylor Dickson, Philip Knowles, Carl Yuan.
Notable: Ramey had weekend rounds of 68-68 and beat Joshua Creel by one shot.