It was certainly an interesting weekend at Los Angeles Country Club but by the time Sunday rolled around, golf did what it always seems to do and provided some drama down the stretch. The combination of the West Coast and both Rory McIlroy and Rickie Fowler trying to exorcize major demons against upstart Wyndham Clark proved to be successful for NBC Sports, which just released guidance that this was their most-watched U.S. Open broadcast since 2019.
Some highlights from their release:
Sunday’s final round on NBC, Peacock and NBC Sports Digital averaged 8.8 million viewers in primetime and peaked at 10.2 million viewers from 9:30-9:45 p.m. ET, as Wyndham Clark held off Rory McIlroy to win by a shot and earn his first major championship.
Full final round coverage on NBC, Peacock and NBC Sports Digital (1-10:09 p.m. ET) delivered an average of 6.2 million viewers, to rank as the most-watched U.S. Open final round since 2019 at Pebble Beach (featuring Tiger Woods carding his tournament best -2 to finish 21st).
Across 47 hours of live championship coverage on NBC, Peacock and USA Network, the 2023 U.S. Open averaged a Total Audience Delivery of 3.4 million viewers – the best mark since 2019, and up 27% from last year (2.7 million) and a 9% increase from the last west coast U.S. Open (3.2 million at Torrey Pines in 2021).
There's a pretty good case to be made for the idea that, at least once a year, people really enjoy primetime golf. It will be a bit of a wait until the next opportunity, though, as the U.S. Open doesn't return to Pebble Beach until 2027 and the PGA Championship visits San Francisco a year after that.