Andy North ESPN Apr 9, 2024; Augusta, Georgia, USA; ESPN golf analyst Andy North waits to do interviews at hole no. 2 during a practice round for the Masters Tournament golf tournament at Augusta National Golf Club. Mandatory Credit: Adam Cairns-USA TODAY Sports

ESPN posted a big increase in viewership for its coverage of the first two rounds of the Masters.

According to Nielsen Fast National data, the network attracted a two-day average of 3.4 million viewers for its 3 p.m. ET coverage of the tournament Thursday and Friday. That’s the largest two-day average viewership for those telecasts since 2018.

Thursday’s opening-round coverage averaged 3.2 million viewers, while 3.6 million checked out Friday’s broadcast. That figure was up 69% from second-round coverage in 2023, which was delayed by rain. Friday’s coverage actually peaked at 3.9 million viewers.

Friday’s action featured some unexpected drama, when former Masters winner Zach Johnson had some choice words for fans. After tapping in a putt for a triple-bogey on the 12th hole, some fans sarcastically cheered.

Johnson calmly told the fans to “F*** off.”

Scottie Scheffler picked up his second green jacket in this year’s tournament. CBS’ coverage of the final two rounds had its own drama, and not all of it involved action on the course. Veteran announcer Verne Lundquist, working his 40th and final Masters, was celebrated this week, and broadcast partner Jim Nantz paid a touching tribute to him Sunday.

As the final group left the 16th hole, Nantz told Lundquist, “Thanks for the memories. Your voice has been a beautiful instrument. Thank you for a wonderful soundtrack for all of our lives.”

“Thank you so much Jim. It’s my honor, my privilege,” Lundquist replied.

[ESPN Press Room]

About Arthur Weinstein

Arthur spends his free time traveling around the U.S. to sporting events, state and national parks, and in search of great restaurants off the beaten path.