May 21, 2023; Rochester, New York, USA; Brooks Koepka lines up a putt on the 18th green during the final round of the PGA Championship golf tournament at Oak Hill Country Club. Mandatory Credit: Adam Cairns-USA TODAY Sports

The ratings are in for Sunday’s PGA Championship on CBS, with 4.57 million viewers tuning in to see Brooks Koepka capture his fifth major title and first since 2019. According to Josh Carpenter of Sports Business Journal, that’s a 14-percent drop-off from last year’s final round.

There’s a myriad of reasons why that might be. Network television has been greatly affected by the cord-cutting phenomenon and increased competition from content-rich streamers like Netflix and Hulu, which could account for the PGA drawing its lowest ratings in 15 years. The PGA Championship also appears much earlier on the calendar than it used to, recently moving to May after years of being contested in August. What, if any impact that’s had on ratings remains a mystery.

Another factor to consider is the PGA’s ongoing feud with LIV, a frustrating dynamic that has alienated many of the sport’s longtime fans, most of whom would prefer to keep golf and politics separate. Seeing Koepka at the forefront, leading throughout the tournament with Sunday’s final outcome never in much doubt, couldn’t have helped in that regard.

Of course, these are all just theories, little more than educated guesses as to why the PGA Championship, traditionally one of golf’s biggest events (though admittedly the least consequential of the four majors), continues to decline in the ratings. Maybe it’s as simple as Tiger Woods—still far and away the tour’s biggest draw—not playing, still tending to his injured ankle after undergoing surgery last month. Barring a miraculous recovery, Woods will also be absent from next month’s U.S. Open field at Los Angeles Country Club, a tournament he last won in 2008.

About Jesse Pantuosco

Jesse Pantuosco joined Awful Announcing as a contributing writer in May 2023. He’s also written for Audacy and NBC Sports. A graduate of Syracuse’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications with a master’s degree in creative writing from Fairfield University, Pantuosco has won three Fantasy Sports Writers Association Awards. He lives in West Hartford, Connecticut and never misses a Red Sox, Celtics or Patriots game.