The 2013 PGA Tour season kicks off today (Golf Channel, 5:30 p.m. ET) with the Hyundai Tournament of Champions. The event is at Kapalua’s Plantation Course on the island of Maui, otherwise known as my favorite place in the world. During my days at the Chicago Tribune, I actually got paid to cover the tournament. If there’s a better assignment, I can’t think of one.
The Champions won’t include Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy or Phil Mickelson, but Bubba Watson, Keegan Bradley, Dustin Johnson, Jason Dufner, and Webb Simpson are among those in the field. And the downhill 18th hole always is fun to watch.
It’s golf in Hawaii. That’s enough for me.
The Golf Channel is on a good run. The synergy created by NBC’s purchase of the network has produced record ratings.
From the Golf Channel:
In 2012, Golf Channel scored its most-watched year ever in the near 18-year history of the network.This marked the second consecutive most-watched year after a record breaking 2011. This continued surge in viewership since joining the NBC Sports Group early in 2011 has retained Golf Channel’s status as the fastest-growing network on U.S. television (among networks serving 80 million or more homes throughout that span), according to data released today by The Nielsen Company.
“We share in celebrating this milestone with our partners and most importantly, with our increasingly loyal family of viewers who have watched in record numbers to help us achieve these consecutive record-breaking years,” said Golf Channel President Mike McCarley. “While we’re grateful for this recent success, we continue to set our goals high and are committed to serving our passionate fans with more and more high-quality golf content in the New Year and years to come.”
Golf Channel averaged 95,000 viewers in 24-hour Total Day (6AM-6AM) during 2012, an increase of six percent more than a record-breaking 2011 (90,000) and 36 percent more than 2010 (70,000). Contributing to a banner 2012 were seven PGA TOUR events on Golf Channel reaching audiences in excess of 7 million unique viewers, led by the BMW Championship with 8.4 million unique viewers. Additionally, an unprecedented 14 million Golf Channel viewers watched some or all of the PGA TOUR Playoffs, which was the most-watched ever in the PGA TOUR Playoffs’ six-year history.