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The world’s best player won arguably the most anticipated men’s major of the season. 

But still, Scottie Scheffler’s four-shot victory in this year’s 88th Masters wasn’t enough to arrest an alarming slide in the year-on-year TV viewing figures.

As it stands in golf’s great schism, there are only four weeks a year that the game’s elite compete together, with a divided talent pool proving problematic after the emergence of the LIV Golf League.

The Masters was one of those times, with 13 LIV players joining the very best from the PGA Tour at Augusta National.

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However, worryingly for those in the sport’s corridors of power, the trend for declining ratings in golf viewership continued.

According to Sports Business Journal‘s Josh Carpenter, Sunday’s final round drew 9.589million viewers for CBS, which was down 20% from Jon Rahm’s victory at Augusta in 2023.

Interestingly, it was also noted by Carpenter that Scheffler’s win provided the “second-largest deficit of the season” for the US broadcaster, and the lowest since 2021, when Hideki Matsuyama won his maiden major.

It is reported that the “coverage peaked at 12.562M viewers from 7:00-7:15”, when Scheffler sealed the win, with the average at just over 8.210 million across the weekend’s action.

The latest data further exposes a worrying trend in men’s professional golf, following declining viewing figures across PGA Tour events in 2024.

Peter Malnati’s dramatic win at the Valspar Championship in the weeks before the Masters saw a 27% drop, while there have also consistent drop offs at other tournaments.

Speaking at the Valero Texas Open, Rory McIlroy expressed concern that the “infighting” during the game’s divide has caused fans to tune out of the action.

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“If you look at the TV ratings of the PGA Tour this year, they’re down 20 percent across the board,” McIlroy said. “I just think with the fighting and everything that’s went on over the past couple years, people are just getting really fatigued of it and it’s turning people off men’s professional golf, and that’s not a good thing for anyone.

“That’s where I said like things need a correction and things are unsustainable because I’m close with NBC and the people that really care about these things and the people that tune in to watch golf. You know, 20% is a pretty jarring number this year.”

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Ben Parsons joined bunkered as a Content Producer in 2023 and is the man to come to for all of the latest news, across both the professional and amateur games. Formerly of The Mirror and Press Association, he is a member at Halifax Golf Club and is a long-suffering fan of both Manchester United and the Wales rugby team.

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