PGA gets more viewers for interview

Updated: August 17, 2009, 5:31 PM ET
Associated Press

NEW YORK -- Y.E. Yang's upset win over Tiger Woods in the PGA Championship was a television hit that even picked up extra viewers for CBS' interview with quarterback Michael Vick.

Nielsen Media Research says its overnight measurements of big cities found ratings for the golf tournament up 150 percent over 2008. Only 4 million people watched the final round last year. Woods was injured and didn't play in the tournament, and the Summer Olympics were televised at the same time.

Nielsen and CBS don't yet have a precise estimate of the audience nationally for this year. In the metered markets, it was the best PGA final round since 2002, when Woods lost by a stroke to Rich Beem.

The golf tournament led directly into "60 Minutes," which featured Vick's interview about his prison time for running a dogfighting operation. CBS estimates that some 12.6 million people were watching the network between 7 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. on Sunday, when the golf tournament ended and "60 Minutes" began with its interview with Vick, who signed with the Philadelphia Eagles last week.

The tournament brought more people to CBS, and to the Vick interview, than would normally be watching on a summer Sunday. Typically this summer, about 8 million people have watched an episode of "60 Minutes."

Woods is always a big draw for the TV networks. The metered markets show that ratings for the final two rounds of this year's PGA tournament are the third highest since 1986. That ties with Woods' first win in 1999 and trails Woods' second win in 2000 and the 2002 tournament.

Nielsen had no immediate estimates on how many people were watching overseas, particularly in Yang's home country of South Korea. South Korea's president, Lee Myung-bak, stayed up late into the night to watch the tournament live.

The tournament also did well for TNT, which televised the first two rounds and morning action on Saturday and Sunday. TNT's average of 1.88 million viewers was up 79 percent over 2008, according to Nielsen.

Turner Sports and PGA.com also drew a record number of visitors to their Web sites over the weekend.


Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press