TV ratings rise as Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy dominate show at Bay Hill

Phelan M. Ebenhack/Associated Press

TV ratings rise as Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy dominate show at Bay Hill

Golf on TV

TV ratings rise as Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy dominate show at Bay Hill

Tiger Woods merely being in the hunt the past two weekends led to a spike in ratings for NBC Sports.

A weekend after he finished second at the Valspar Championship, he faded late at the Arnold Palmer Invitational to place fifth. His comeback – and search for his first title since 2013 – continues. But the result was the same for NBC Sports: ratings were the highest they’ve been in years.

Despite going up against March Madness, Sunday’s final round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational averaged a 3.6 overnight rating — a 136 percent jump over the Tiger-less 2017 tournament. And those who tuned in to watch Tiger Woods stuck around to watch Rory McIlroy surge for his first win since 2016.

NBC Sports said in a news release Monday that when the prior weekend’s final round of the Valspar Championship (5.1 overnight rating) is factored in, the two tournaments posted the highest ratings of any non-major PGA Tour broadcast since the 2015 Wyndham Championship. Woods played in that tournament, too.

More than 12 million minutes were streamed of NBC and Golf Channel coverage of the Arnold Palmer Invitational, a 683 percent increase compared to 2017, according to NBC Sports.

The overnight rating of 3.6 on Sunday wasn’t far from the 3.8 Fox drew for the final round of the U.S. Open.

Golf ratings have seen a significant dip without Woods, who has been sidelined in recent years with multiple back procedures.

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