Final-round down 36% from last year

The “Tiger Factor” was evident in golf’s ratings over the weekend, as CBS’ coverage of the PGA Championship — a tourney in which Tiger Woods never threatened to win — produced numbers sharply off the pace of a year ago.

Golf has enjoyed a ratings renaissance since Woods emerged on the scene in 1997, but this past weekend proved that even a competitive finish in one of the sport’s four major tournaments — David Toms defeated Phil Mickelson by one shot — won’t necessarily produce boffo ratings unless Woods is in the spotlight.

According to Nielsen overnights that represent roughly 60% of the country, Sunday’s final-round action of the PGA Championship (2-7:25 p.m. EDT) settled for a 6.4 rating/14 share. That’s down 36% from last year’s record-high 10.0/22 (when Woods won in a playoff) and 17% behind 1999’s 7.7/18 (when Woods also won).

Still, this year’s Sunday score is the third best for the PGA Championship since 1993 and the highest without a playoff or Woods in contention since 1986.

Saturday’s third-round coverage averaged a 4.1/11 in overnights, down 29% from last year (5.8/15) and 11% from 1999 (4.7/13).

The two-day average overnight rating of 5.3/13 is 34% behind last year’s 8.0/19 and 15% lower than 1999 (6.2/15). National ratings will be released today.

Woods was never a real factor at this year’s PGA Championship, barely making the cut and finishing tied for 29th, 14 shots behind Toms.

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