As expected, Bubba Watson's second Masters win in three years failed to draw the kind of gangbusters ratings to which golf's greatest tournament is accustomed, mostly because the finale lacked any star firepower or late-game drama.
Via @AustinKarp: CBS gets 7.8 overnight rating for final round of The Masters - lowest since 2004. Last year was 10.2.— Richard Deitsch (@richarddeitsch) April 14, 2014
The lowest Masters ratings in a decade. Yeesh. Unfortunately, this was entirely predictable as CBS' ratings were doomed from the jump. With Tiger Woods absent all weekend — after back surgery that will likely keep him out of competition at least until the U.S. Open — the numbers were destined to be low. Science says Masters ratings noticeably dip when Tiger isn't heavily involved in the race for first place.
Twenty-year-old Masters rookie Jordan Spieth tried to make it interesting early on, but heading into the back nine Watson took command and the drama fell out of an otherwise exciting tournament.
Tiger wasn't the only cause for low ratings, though. Casual golf fans may know Bubba Watson as the guy who won the Masters two years ago, or the hovercraft cart guy, but he doesn't have quite the following of a Phil Mickelson or Rory McIlroy. Or the years of goodwill built by a veteran fan favorite like Fred Couples. Few people outside of golf's fans hardcore have heard of Spieth or even Matt Kuchar, who both lack major wins. CBS executives were simply screwed because of the sheer lack of other household names in contention on Sunday:
Myriad reasons for CBS' overnight ratings drop at The Masters, including no back nine drama, no Tiger, Phil and Rory not in contention— Austin Karp (@AustinKarp) April 14, 2014
The low ratings are doubly unfortunate because Bubba Watson seems like a genuine guy, with an adorable kid who walked out to greet his dad on eighteen, who just wants to celebrate his second green jacket in peace — at Waffle House. If anyone should have a devoted sports fan following it's him. Maybe by next year.