I love watching golf on television because it's basically like taking a nap with your eyes open. The drama is infrequent and slow-developing, and save the five or six really big tournaments on the schedule each year, I consider every event as really nothing more than a bunch of guys enjoying a nature walk while occasionally stopping to hit a golf ball. Unlike, say, the NFL, it requires virtually no commitment on the part of viewer, which makes it very liberating.
But enough with the new-age-y, feel-good stuff; the point is that without Tiger Woods competing, the story remains the same: nobody's watching. And with each passing week, the ratings plummet, which is pretty impressive given how low they were following the British Open, and then, a month later, the PGA Championship.
Apparently, though, congratulations are in order for last week's BMW Championship.
The third round Saturday of the BMW Championship had a 1.1 overnight rating on NBC, down from a 2.6 in 2007; and Sunday's fourth round had a 1.2 overnight rating, down from a 3.2 in 2007.
That works out to a 58 percent drop in viewership in last week's third round when compared to 2007, and a 63 percent drop for the final round. Those numbers must have advertisers lining up to buy commercial time for the Tour Championship in two weeks.
It'll be interesting to see what happens at the Ryder Cup next Thursday. The story lines are compelling enough to suggest ratings would improve, but Padraig Harrington's back-to-back major victories this summer didn't move the needle. In fact, just the opposite happened, which is why I'm not too optimistic anything will change until whatshisname comes back.