Sunday’s final round of the Ryder Cup was the most-watched broadcast of the biennial golf tournamen since the U.S. team made its miraculous comeback in Brookline, Mass., in 1999.
NBC’s telecast of the dramatic finale, in which Europe rebounded from a 10-6 deficit to retain the Ryder Cup by beating the Americans, 14.5-13.5, scored the best overnight rating (4.1 overnight rating/9 share from noon-6:30 p.m. ET) for the event’s last round since the two squads teed it up at The Country Club 13 years ago. Back then, with the United States staging its own improbable rebound from the same four-point margin, NBC attracted a 6.3 rating and 15 share.
Sunday’s ratings were 71 percent higher than the previous Ryder Cup (2.4/7 in 2010 from Wales) and 21 percent higher than the last U.S.-based, and Tiger Woods-less, contest (3.4/7) from Louisville, Ky., in 2008. Woods — always a ratings bonanza for the networks, despite a lackluster 13-17-3 record in Ryder Cup play (0-3-1 this year) — did not suit up four years ago since he was recovering from knee surgery.
The New England Patriots were on CBS for much of the ratings time period on Sunday, which could account for the absence of Boston — despite hometown hero Keegan Bradley’s rock star-like Ryder Cup debut (3-1-0) at Medinah Country Club — from the top 10 viewing markets.
Coverage of Saturday’s round (9 a.m.-7:45 p.m.) — during which Bradley and partner Phil Mickelson tied the record for biggest margin of victory in team competition when they dusted Lee Westwood and Luke Donald, 7&6, in the morning foursome match, drew a 3.2/8. The ratings were 52 percent higher than they were in 2010 (2.1/6), 14 percent better than 2008, and matched 2006 as the most-watched second day since 2004 (3.9/9 from Detroit).
Emily Kay is a regular contributor to New England Golf Monthly. You may follow Kay on Twitter @golfexaminer
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