Woods brings out top ratings for U.S. Open
Limping Tiger Woods probably shocked even those fans who incessantly yelp "get in the hole" on impossible shots by actually draining them Saturday. NBC drew an overall 5.3 overnight rating, which translates to 5.3% of households in 56 urban markets measured for overnights — a 15% increase over last year and the highest third-round Open overnight since 2002.
Saturday is TV's least-watched night. But NBC's prime-time Open coverage Saturday — 8-10:30 ET — drew 5.9%, which is the highest overnight on any network since CBS' NCAA men's basketball Final Four coverage April 5. The Open returns to California in 2010 and 2012, allowing for more Open action in prime time.
But good luck in getting the same kind of suspense. More than any other network, NBC's golf coverage revolves around one star —Johnny Miller— who is also one of TV sports' least self-censoring analysts.
As Woods opened Sunday with a double bogey, Miller didn't hesitate to second-guess "The Great One" — "I've never seen him play a hole like this in his whole career." And he later questioned Woods' caddie: "Tiger's hit some clubs I wouldn't have had him using if I'd been caddying."
Miller said on a conference call last week, "The bottom line is when I get into a U.S. Open, I don't even know I'm on the air. … Stuff comes out." Like this: When Rocco Mediate took the lead early Sunday, Miller said, "He looks more like the guy cleaning Tiger's swimming pool."