'Pretty jarring' PGA Tour TV numbers have Rory McIlroy ready to worry.

‘Pretty jarring’ PGA Tour TV numbers have Rory McIlroy ready to worry.

IN SAN ANTONIO— It’s true that I am tired. The idea of making the game bigger has been officially put on hold.

Rory McIlroy is about to freak out about the "pretty jarring" PGA Tour TV numbers.
‘Pretty jarring’ PGA Tour TV numbers have Rory McIlroy ready to worry.

After almost two years of fighting between the PGA Tour and LIV Golf, Rory McIlroy said on Wednesday that he doesn’t think it’s a surprise that many golf fans are losing interest. However, he sounded more than a little worried about the effects that can be seen in the recent drop in viewing.

McIlroy said that the raw data from PGA Tour telecasts is frightening because one in five people who used to watch the shows have turned them off. He was speaking in San Antonio as he got ready for his last tuneup before the 2024 Masters.

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“I know this isn’t a be-all, end-all, but if you look at the TV ratings of the PGA Tour this year, they’re down 20 percent across the board,” said he. “That’s five.” That’s very big. I would say that the number of people watching LIV is also not very good. There has been a lot of fights and bad behavior in men’s professional golf over the past few years, and I think people are tired of it. This is turning people off to the sport, which is bad for everyone.

The four-time major winner is focused on his own game, especially since he hasn’t finished in the top 15 in any of his first five starts of 2024. However, he will be watching how people react to the first major of the year in Augusta on TV. He thinks that the other three majors on the schedule will give an even better picture.

“It’s going to be really interesting to see how the four major championships do, or even the three because put Augusta aside, I think that sort of lives in its own world,” he added.

“It will be really interesting to see how the major championship numbers fare compared to the other bigger events because there’s an argument to be made if the numbers are better and you’ve got all the best players in the world playing, then there’s an argument to say ‘OK, we need to get this thing back together.’

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“On the other hand, even if the numbers aren’t as good, we should still get everyone back together because people are losing interest in the game, even if they don’t want to watch the four big championships.

The 2024 Cognizant Classic in The Palm Beaches at PGA National is in its first round. This is Rory McIlroy’s shot on the fifth hole.

A lot of people thought that more exposure to the game through PGA Tour Live on ESPN+ and other online channels would lead to more watchers. However, record numbers of people are playing the game and watching more golf content online.

However, McIlroy, who in the Netflix documentary “Full Swing” said he was the closest player on Tour to PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan, recently said it’s been hard to see some of the best players in the world not consistently meeting up.

“That’s where I said like things need a correction and things are unsustainable because I’m close with NBC and the people that really care about these things and the people that tune in to watch golf,” he added. “You know, 20 percent’s a pretty jarring number this year.”

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