The Saudi-backed LIV Golf returned for its second season over the weekend and its first with a broadcast deal, yet ratings revealed it has much work to do to capture the hearts and minds of golf fans.
According to reports in the US, LIV Golf’s questionable broadcast deal with The CW network did not bear fruit for the start of the rebel league’s 2023 season in Mayakoba, Mexico on Friday.
The New York Post reports, Saturday’s overnight ratings for LIV Golf Mayakoba came in at 0.2 audience share — which indicates only 0.2 per cent of households surveyed tuned in.
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It’s understood World’s Funniest Animals, which also aired on The CW later in the day, attracted more viewers, according to Golf Digest.
In comparison, the Genesis Invitational played the week before on the PGA Tour, drew a 1.8 rating for Saturday’s third round, per Sports Media Watch. While LIV did not have a competing event on at the same time, it would be difficult to imagine LIV upstaging Tiger Woods at the Genesis.
Charles Howell III’s putter came to life for an 8-under 63 to win at Mayakoba by four shots for his first title in the Saudi-funded series.
Howell had seven birdies through 10 holes to take control at El Camaleon, and then got some help when Peter Uihlein had to hit three tee shots on the 12th hole in a triple bogey that removed any drama from the final round.
Howell won in his sixth start in LIV Golf and picked up $4 million, with an additional $1 million for leading his Crushers to a nine-shot victory.
LIV Golf’s opening event in a 14-tournament schedule was a happy time for Howell, the 42-year-old from Augusta, Georgia, who won only three times in 23 seasons and 607 starts on the PGA Tour.
“It’s great,” Howell said. “It’s a big win and we got the team win.”
Two of his three PGA Tour wins were in playoffs, and the other was a two-shot win.
Howell had a bogey-free card, and most of his birdies were in the 8-foot to 15-foot range as he ran off four in a row and rarely made any mistakes.
Howell played 13 times at Mayakoba when it hosted a PGA Tour event from 2007 until last November, his best finish a tie for fourth.
“I’ve played here many times, so I had an idea what to expect,” Howell said. “Around this place, there’s double bogeys everywhere, so you never know.”
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