Actually, both have done it, winning the Open by eight or more shots; Woods in 2000 and McIlroy in 2011. Those Opens still registered with viewers.
Not so much for Kaymer’s victory yesterday at Pinehurst.
NBC only did a 3.3 overnight rating for Sunday’s final round. Last year, the network did a 6.1 overnight rating on Sunday for Justin Rose’s win at Merion. Look out below.
The low rating hardly was unexpected. Kaymer’s performance, while one of the best of all time, sapped any of the drama out of the tournament. Erik Compton was a great story, but viewers weren’t going to stay tuned in to see if he qualified for next year’s Masters.
Clearly, American golf fans weren’t captivated by Kaymer the same way they were for Woods and McIlroy when they scored their big wins. The big German still is relatively unknown in the states despite being a former No. 1 player in the world. It also doesn’t help that he barely displays any emotion on the course. That’s why U.S. viewers always loved Seve Ballesteros.
Kaymer, though, could be the best player from Europe (outside of Great Britain) since Ballesteros. He only is 29, and Players Championship and U.S. Open titles in recent weeks show he might have figured it out. He definitely will be the favorite going into next month’s British Open and has the talent to be the dominant player in golf.
That’s likely a sobering thought for golf’s governing bodies. Kaymer probably could have had dinner last night in a Pinehurst restaurant without getting recognized. Unless he is going for the Grand Slam, he isn’t going to move the needle.
Once again, the U.S. Open showed how much the game misses Woods. Here’s why: Even though he hasn’t won a major since 2008, more often than not, he usually is on the first page of the leaderboard on Sunday. The networks can count on him being in contention, which is considerable.
The same can’t be said of McIlroy, Phil Mickelson, Adam Scott, Bubba Watson, the others on golf’s short A list. They are too inconsistent to be up there at every major. The lack of star power from elsewhere only compounds the absence of Woods.
It is appearing more unlikely that Woods will tee it up in a major this year. The ratings haven’t been pretty without him.
ESPN is next up to air the British Open. Kaymer will be a main focus.
Will you tune in?