Last year’s U.S. Open on NBC finished with a record-low rating and viewership so this year’s edition on Fox seemingly had nowhere to go, but up. There would be several factors for an increased rating, the most important that the Open would be on the West Coast bringing golf to primetime for the first time since 2012 when it was held at Olympic in San Francisco. Add to the fact that the final round went down to the final holes, you would think that Fox would have a ratings blockbuster on its hands.

But even with a primetime Open and a compelling finish, Fox could only muster enough numbers to increase this year’s tournament to the second lowest-rated final round, just above 2014.

The final rating for Sunday’s coverage averaged a 4.2 rating with a viewing audience of 6.7 million. That’s up 40% and 46% respectively from 2014’s 3.0 rating and 4.6 million viewers, but remember last year’s Open was held on the East Coast and was a runaway for winner Martin Kaymer.

And when you compare this to the last West Coast Open in 2012, this year’s fell 30% in both rating and viewership from a 6.0 rating and 9.6 million people.

But Fox has a silver lining for the final round. Primetime coverage averaged a 5.3 rating and 8.7 million viewers. The peak viewership came in the final half-hour, from 10-10:30 p.m. ET with an astounding 11.2 million watching.

For the entire tournament, Fox and Fox Sports 1 averaged 3.5 million viewers, up 40% from last year’s 2.5 million on ESPN and NBC. But compared to 2012’s tournament, it was down 27%.

After the first round which jumped to a 13-year high in viewership, the rest of the tournament did not compare as well.

Home market Seattle lead all local markets averaging an 11.4 rating for the final round.

So why the dropoff from the first round? Were viewers turned off by Fox’s coverage or was it the Tiger effect following his massive implosion on Thursday? Who knows? Whatever the reason, Fox has some things it has to fix for next year’s Open.

[Sports Media Watch]

About Ken Fang

Ken has been covering the sports media in earnest at his own site, Fang's Bites since May 2007 and at Awful Announcing since March 2013.

He provides a unique perspective having been an award-winning radio news reporter in Providence and having worked in local television.

Fang celebrates the four Boston Red Sox World Championships in the 21st Century, but continues to be a long-suffering Cleveland Browns fan.