Masters ratings bounce back as Reed wins and Woods returns
The US television ratings for the final round of The Masters, the first golf major of 2018, increased by 14 per cent year-on-year on Sunday as USA’s Patrick Reed claimed his first title at that level.
The live coverage of Sunday's play on national network CBS earned an overnight rating of 8.7, and a household share of 18 per cent.
The 27-year-old Reed (pictured) held off the challenge of US rivals Rickie Fowler and Jordan Spieth, in second and third place, respectively, to win the green jacket at Augusta National in Georgia.
Last year, the victory of Spain's Sergio Garcia drew a rating of 7.6 for CBS, an 11-per-cent drop on the 2016 Masters won by England's Danny Willett, ahead of Spieth, which earned an 8.5 rating.
The opening two days of this year’s tournament attracted an average audience of 3.5 million for ESPN, the US sports broadcaster, up 46 per cent from 2017 (2.4 million), as four-time champion Tiger Woods took part for the first time in three years.
This represented the highest average for the first two days since 2013 (also 3.5 million), and followed several high finishes for Woods in PGA Tour events, following his return from injury.
ESPN pulled in 3 million viewers for the first round of The Masters last Thursday, up 40 per cent on 2017, and 3.9 million, up 50 per cent, for the second round on Friday, as Reed took the half-way lead, and Woods survived the cut to make the weekend play.
In the UK, the BBC, the public-service broadcaster, netted an average audience of 2 million, and a peak of 2.5 million, for its live coverage of the final round of the tournament.
The BBC Two figures were boosted by the presence of Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy, a four-time major champion, alongside Reed, in the final group, although the world number seven ultimately faded to finish joint fifth.
Saturday’s third round was watched by an average of 1.2 million viewers, and a peak of 1.6 million on the same channel.
The BBC also televised highlights of the first two rounds, while UK pay-TV operator Sky offered live coverage of all four days.