CBS swings golf extension

NEW YORK — CBS Sports inked an unusual seven-year contract extension for the PGA Championship, but the new links pact comes with a substantial price hike.

CBS Sports prexy Sean McManus called the PGA “an unbelievably important major championship” that was a top priority to retain.

The Eye web began covering the PGA Championship in 1991 and already had inked one renewal due to expire next year.

Renewed enthusiasm

The latest extension, made pre-emptively during an exclusive negotiating period, takes CBS’ coverage to 2005, and is in part based on renewed enthusiasm for the sport with Tiger Woods’ Masters victory. Both the Masters and the PGA Tour air on CBS under separate rights agreements.

The championship, also expected to feature Woods, is played in August each year and will be televised this year from the Winged Foot Golf Club in Mamaroneck, N.Y.

CBS’ coverage of other golf events over the July 4 weekend produced substantial ratings increases vs. last year. But McManus sought to downplay expectations of huge audience gains that would justify PGA rights-fee increases.

“If the ratings for the PGA Championship and sales interest (from advertisers) remain relatively constant this year, we’d be happy,” McManus said. “We’re not looking for huge increases in TV ratings, and we think we can build on the growth we’ve had.”

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