The PGA Tour’s Honda Classic attracts 2.38 million viewers for the final round of the playoffs on Sunday…more than EIGHT TIMES the number who watched the first LIV Golf tournament of the season
LIV Golf has had no trouble attracting some of the sport’s top talent, but it will be a more difficult task to snare TV audiences as viewership for the inaugural broadcasts on the CW Network fell far short of their rivals on the PGA Tour.
According to Nielsen, an average of 286,000 and 291,000 viewers on Saturday and Sunday respectively watched six-time main winner Phil Mickelson and former No. 1 Dustin Johnson lead an all-star cast at LIV’s season opener in Mexico’s Mayakoba.
With fewer big names to boast in its field, the PGA Tour’s Honda Classic attracted 1.61 million viewers on Saturday and 2.38 million on NBC on Sunday.
LIV Golf is the first sport to air on the CW Network, after the two parties agreed to a multi-year deal in January.
Perry Sook, the chairman and CEO of CW Network’s parent company Nexstar, said on Tuesday’s earnings call that the three-day tournament was watched by more than 1.4 million people on the network and its digital platform.
2.38 million viewers tuned into the Honda Classic, more than eight times larger than LIV’s audience
Meanwhile, fewer than 300,000 people tuned in to see LIV’s Charles Howell III win at Mayakoba
“We are very happy with our first weekend of LIV Golf,” said Sook.
“It’s selling really well and I think we’ll continue to grow as we get more into the season and get more involved.”
Funded by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, LIV Golf attracted some of the sport’s biggest names with the promise of super-large payouts and a curtailed schedule.
The PGA Tour, meanwhile, has suspended members who have joined the breakaway circuit.
The 14-event season began amid an ongoing rift between the two sides, as two more competitors, Chilean Mito Pereira, who finished third in the PGA Championship last year, and Colombian Sebastian Munoz joined LIV earlier this month.
Charles Howell took home a $4 million individual prize at the LIV event, while Chris Kirk took home $1.512 million at the Honda Classic in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.
Kirk held on in a playoff over fellow American Eric Cole in a tournament that lacked the big names that garnered attention in the previous weeks.
The highest ranked golfer in the world rankings to make the trip to PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens, FL was South Korean star Sungjae Im.
Meanwhile, big names like Jon Rahm, Rory McIlroy, Patrick Cantlay, Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth all sat out the tournament.
Chris Kirk won the final round with a sudden death victory over Eric Cole late on Sunday