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Prime-Time Golf Shootout Is a Ratings Success

August 04, 1999|From Associated Press

NEW YORK — The Tiger Woods-David Duval match-play shootout at Sherwood Country Club in Thousand Oaks may have lacked drama, but it scored decent ratings for ABC.

After defeating Duval, 2 and 1, in the first live network golf match Monday night, Woods said success--or failure--would depend on how many people tuned in to the telecast.

Call it a success.

The prime-time exhibition, shown from 5-8 p.m. PDT, posted a 6.9 national rating and a 12 share. That number was higher than the final rounds of the British Open (4.8) and the U.S. Open (6.8) but fell well short of the final round of the Masters (10.1). In Los Angeles, the telecast garnered an 8.7 rating and a 17 share.

However, all of the major golf tournaments are played during daytime, when it is more difficult to attract viewers.

Many industry experts, including the ABC brass, predicted a rating in the 5s for the Woods-Duval showcase. The show peaked from 7:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. with an 8.2 mark.

"You can't compare this to anything, since it hasn't been done before," ABC spokesman Mark Mandel said. "What it means for the future, we still don't know. We're very happy with our telecast."

The national rating for the event was comparable to NFL preseason games in prime time. For example, the Dallas-Jacksonville game on CBS in 1998 had a 6.5 rating, and the Cowboys' matchup with New England earned a 7.9.

The rating is the percentage of TV households in the United States tuned to a program, and each point represents 994,000 homes. The share is the percentage tuned to a program among televisions in use at the time.

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