Report: PGA Championship Viewing Figures Lowest In 15 Years

One report has suggested viewing figures for the PGA Championship were at their lowest since 2008

Brooks Koepka with the trophy after his win in the 2023 PGA Championship at Oak Hill
Brooks Koepka's win in the PGA Championship reportedly failed to draw a big TV audience
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The PGA Championship was full of drama, from Brooks Koepka becoming the first player to win a Major while with LIV Golf to club pro Michael Block’s fairytale week that saw him finish tied for 15th.

However, despite a feel-good factor descending on Oak Hill Country Club following the tournament, the news on viewing figures wasn’t quite so rosy, with one report saying the figures were the lowest for the tournament since 2008. 

Sports Business Journal's Josh Carpenter wrote on Twitter that Saturday’s third-round coverage averaged 3.22 million viewers on CBS, an 11% drop from the 3.63 million viewers over the same round last year at Southern Hills.

Not surprisingly, more people tuned in for Sunday’s final round at 4.517 million. However, that represented an even steeper drop than last year’s finale that saw Justin Thomas claim his second PGA Championship title, with 14% fewer viewers.

Not only that, but the final round figure continues a trend of diminishing viewing figures in recent years. In 2021, 6.7 million viewers watched Phil Mickelson become the oldest Major winner in history, only for that to drop to 5.27 million in last year’s concluding round.

There have been suggestions that the PGA Championship has lost some of its identity since moving from its traditional August slot to May in 2018. During the build-up to last week’s tournament, Rory McIlroy voiced his concerns on that subject. 

He said: “I always liked in August that this was glory’s last shot and there was a real identity there. Not saying that it’s lost any of that identity in terms of its still a Major championship, but I feel like having it be the last Major of the year maybe just gave it a little bit of something that it doesn’t quite have right now.”

Those disappointing viewing figures appear to back up McIlroy’s opinion, particularly considering the encouraging viewing figures for April’s Masters, which was the most watched golf telecast in five years, with over 15 million watching Jon Rahm clinch the title at Augusta National. That suggests there is still plenty of appetite for the game among TV viewers in general, and perhaps the PGA Championship specifically failed to capture the imagination of the public in the way it has in the past.

Another factor could be the absence of 15-time Major winner Tiger Woods, who is recovering from ankle surgery, an injury that will also see him miss the third Major of the year, the US Open.

All eyes will now be on that tournament in June, with the hope that the lower viewing figures reported for the PGA Championship are the exception rather than a new norm.

Mike Hall
News Writer

Mike has over 25 years of experience in journalism, including writing on a range of sports throughout that time, such as golf, football and cricket. Now a freelance staff writer for Golf Monthly, he is dedicated to covering the game's most newsworthy stories. 

He has written hundreds of articles on the game, from features offering insights into how members of the public can play some of the world's most revered courses, to breaking news stories affecting everything from the PGA Tour and LIV Golf to developmental Tours and the amateur game. 

Mike grew up in East Yorkshire and began his career in journalism in 1997. He then moved to London in 2003 as his career flourished, and nowadays resides in New Brunswick, Canada, where he and his wife raise their young family less than a mile from his local course. 

Kevin Cook’s acclaimed 2007 biography, Tommy’s Honour, about golf’s founding father and son, remains one of his all-time favourite sports books.