PGA Tour scores within the tank, Rory McIlroy dishes chilly fact


The PGA Tour has not had a superb season ratings-wise.

This yr’s Gamers Championship, maybe one of the best skilled golf event because the 2022 U.S. Open, noticed Scottie Scheffler come from behind and win the PGA Tour’s marquee occasion. His masterful 8-under 64 on Sunday led him to complete one stroke forward of Wyndham Clark and Brian Harman. But, that drew 3.5 million viewers, down from 4.1 million a season in the past, which additionally noticed Scheffler prevail.

The next week, the Valspar Championship noticed an identical development. Just one.89 million tuned into Peter Malnati’s victory, down from 2.59 million the yr earlier than, when Taylor Moore fended off Jordan Spieth.

In order that leads us to ask, why?

Rory McIlroy appears to have an concept.

“Should you have a look at the TV scores of the PGA Tour this yr, they’re down 20 % throughout the board. That’s a fifth. That’s massive… 20 %’s a reasonably jarring quantity.” McIlroy stated.

Rory McIlroy, PGA tour, The Players Championship

Rory McIlroy at The 2024 Gamers Championship.
Picture by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Photos

“I might say the numbers on LIV aren’t nice both by way of the individuals tuning in. I simply assume with the combating and every thing that’s gone on over the previous couple of years, persons are simply getting actually fatigued from it. It’s turning individuals off males’s skilled golf, and that’s not a superb factor for anybody.”

The PGA Tour-LIV Golf divide has turned many golf followers away whereas creating loads of infighting amongst gamers, followers, and pundits alike. LIV has taken lots of the tour’s high expertise away, most notably Jon Rahm, the defending Masters champion, who jettisoned to the Saudi-backed circuit for greater than $400 million in December.

As such, McIlroy, amongst others, has referred to as for a unified, international tour. Phil Mickelson lately agreed with this idea, too.

However it would take a while for all sides to come back collectively.

Thus, within the interim, McIlroy famous that tv scores for this yr’s main championships will likely be an correct barometer for the state of the skilled sport.

“It’s going to be actually attention-grabbing to see how the 4 main championships do, and even the three as a result of put Augusta apart, I believe that kind of lives in its personal world,” McIlroy stated.

“It is going to be actually attention-grabbing to see how the key championship numbers fare in comparison with the opposite greater occasions as a result of there’s an argument to be made if the numbers are higher and also you’ve bought all one of the best gamers on this planet enjoying, then there’s an argument to say OK, we have to get this factor again collectively.

Rory McIlroy, PGA Tour, Valero Texas Open

Rory McIlroy on the 2024 Valero Texas Open.
Picture by Raj Mehta/Getty Photos

“However on the flip aspect, if the numbers aren’t nearly as good, it’s an argument to nonetheless say we have to put everybody again collectively as a result of persons are shedding curiosity within the sport even when they don’t need to tune in to the 4 main championships. Issues want a correction, and issues are unsustainable as a result of I’m shut with NBC and the individuals who actually care about these items and the individuals who tune in to look at golf.”

Just one event on the PGA Tour this yr has seen a year-to-year enhance in scores. That might be The American Specific, which noticed Nick Dunlap develop into the primary beginner to win on tour since Mickelson did so in 1991.

It took a historic prevalence for the tour to see beneficial properties, a large drawback.

Even Scheffler’s unprecedented title protection at TPC Sawgrass didn’t produce a scores enhance, one thing that tour brass in Ponta Vedra Seashore needs to be involved about.

Nevertheless, as McIlroy alluded to, if the PGA Championship, U.S. Open, and Open Championship all expertise declines in numbers, then the skilled sport as an entire is struggling to garner consideration.

We won’t know till late July, however all indicators level to the tour—and golf as an entire—capturing themselves within the foot throughout this debacle. Golf nonetheless has time to alleviate itself, however the clock is ticking.

In an period the place one’s consideration spans are at an all-time low, because of social media, smartphones, and different distractions, golf has little time to determine how one can lure individuals again in. If golf can not accomplish that, and proceed down this path, then the skilled sport will proceed to development in direction of a state of peril.

Jack Milko is a golf workers author for SB Nation’s Taking part in By. Make sure you try @_PlayingThrough for extra golf protection. You possibly can observe him on Twitter @jack_milko as properly.