Despite a thrilling finish that saw Bubba Watson storm to the lead on the back nine and eventually defeat Louis Oosthuizen on the second playoff hole, overnight ratings for The Masters on CBS were down 22% from last year, finishing with an 8.1 rating. That is the lowest rating since the 2004 tournament, which drew a 7.3.
One similarity between the 2012 and 2004 tournaments is that Phil Mickelson was prominently featured in both. Mickelson won the 2004 Masters, his first ever major win, and was in contention on the final day this year. One other similarity between the 2004 and 2012 tournaments was the lack of Tiger Woods, who did awful in this year’s tournament (finishing in a tie for 41st) and almost as bad in 2004, when he finished in a tie for 22nd.
The major storylines coming into this year’s Masters revolved around a resurgent Woods, and the “young guns” of the tour, most notably Rory McIlroy and Luke Donald. None of those three finished remotely close to the top of the leaderboard, and only McIlroy came close to contending. He was a stroke back at the end of the second round (along with Watson and Oosthuizen) before collapsing on Saturday.
It’s worth noting that the ratings were likely adversely affected by the Easter holiday on Sunday, but we won’t have full numbers for a couple of days. The PGA and CBS have to be very dismayed by the numbers that have come in so far though given such a compelling finish.