NBC saw record-low ratings for the final round of the US Open on Sunday. According to Sports Media Watch, 3.21 million people watched Bryson DeChambeau win his first major, a 55% dip from last year's final round on FOX. Obviously, their ratings were doomed from the moment they had to schedule the tournament during football season, but on the other hand, they played it and no one tested positive for COVID so as far as 2020 goes this was a major success.
So don't completely blame DeChambeau for the ratings dip unless you want to give Gary Woodland credit for the strong ratings in 2019. The truth is defending champion Brooks Koepka was within a shot on the back 9 last year and within two shots going into the final hole. On Sunday, DeChambeau took the lead on the fifth hole of the final round and never let up.
After he and Matthew Wolff matched eagles on the ninth, Wolff started to slide while DeChambeau moved to -6 and cruised to victory. The match looked over by hole 11 and was definitely done over by 14 which meant there was almost zero reason for anyone to watch the final couple hours of the tournament and that was independent of football.
A simple solution for any golf tournament facing football in the near future would probably be to start the tournament on Wednesday. Play your final round on Saturday. When the Masters gets moved to the fall, you can stop worrying about the way things have always been done. Heck, get crazy and play Tuesday to Friday. What PGA pro wouldn't like to have a weekend off every once in a while?
If NBC is looking for a silver lining, they will definitely have higher ratings next year. If they avoid football and have a close tournament on Sunday afternoon they'll be able to brag about a huge year-over-year increase no matter who wins.