Every year the U.S. Open tests the top golfers in the world, but when a majority of the most well known players on Tour don’t make the cut, viewership is bound to drop.
This year at Erin Hills, the scores went real low, but the ratings were even lower. According to Austin Karp of SportsBusiness Daily, this U.S. Open was the second-lowest-rated of all time, after 2014:
Early numbers: Fox drew 3.6 overnight rating for U.S. Open yesterday. 2nd lowest ever for final round at the event. 2014 remains low (3.3)
— Austin Karp (@AustinKarp) June 19, 2017
Without Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy, and Jason Day at the final round, viewers didn’t feel the need to tune in to golf’s second major of the season. This niche sport thrives off of the well known golfers, but it seems even with Rickie Fowler and Justin Thomas in the hunt, there just wasn’t enough star power.
If you’re wondering about 2014, that was the year Martin Kaymer won at Pinehurst. He ran away with it from the beginning, leading to a lackluster Sunday with the winner already in sight. Granted, if you love watching golf, Kaymer put on display some of the best and consistent golf that can be played. For others who tune in halfheartedly, it was not very exciting.
Fox is currently in the third year of their 12-year broadcasting deal with the Tour. Although there were barely any hiccups, besides mis-identifying Brooks Koepka’s girlfriend, the coverage still didn’t get the numbers. Keep an open mind though, because ratings don’t include viewers who streamed the tournament, which in this day and age, is probably the majority.
An exploding blimp, E. Coli, a death in the crowd, and bad ratings plagued this year’s U.S. Open. The USGA said it was going to do everything in its power to make sure there were no ruling controversies this year, but maybe that’s what the people want? Or maybe it’s Dustin Johnson they want. Honestly, it’s probably the drama, which apparently there wasn’t enough of this year. Low scores just weren’t enough.