Forget the PGA Tour, LIV Golf had trouble competing with another show that aired on the same network as the upstart circuit’s first event of 2023 this past weekend.
LIV Golf kicked off the season at El Camaleón Mayakoba Golf Course in Mexico, recording a Saturday overnight rating of 0.2 on The CW. “World’s Funniest Animals,” which aired on The CW later in the day, garnered more viewers than the Saudi-backed series, per Golf Digest.
Despite trotting out a field consisting of past major winners in Cameron Smith, Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson and Brooks Koepka among others, LIV Golf failed to challenge the PGA Tour’s Honda Classic, which drew a 2.4 rating for Sunday’s Final Round featuring a generally weaker field.
In preparation for this weekend’s Arnold Palmer Invitational, most of the PGA Tour’s biggest stars decided not to participate in the Honda Classic. 2019 Open Championship winner Shane Lowry was the biggest name to participate in the event won by Chris Kirk, his first victory in nearly eight years.
Charles Howell III, meanwhile, cruised to victory at Mayakoba, finishing 16-under and four shots in front of the pack. Howell III took home $4.75 million with the win, more than the $2.75 million he won from his 3 PGA Tour wins in 609 starts.
“I’ve played here many times, so I had an idea what to expect,” Howell III said after the event, via ESPN. “Around this place, there’s double bogeys everywhere, so you never know.”
Several CBS-Owned CW Affiliates Won’t Air LIV Golf Events
The CW announced earlier this month that it would air all of the upstart golf circuit’s 2023 events in 100% of markets across the network. The CW network reportedly failed to include that a list of affiliates declined to air the Saudi-backed series. Per Deadline, all eight of the CBS-owned CW affiliates have decided not to air the 54-hole weekend tournaments.
The eight affiliates that declined to broadcast LIV Golf are in the following markets: Philadelphia, Atlanta, San Francisco, Tampa, Seattle, Detroit, Sacramento, and Pittsburgh. In addition, the Weigel-owned affiliate in Chicago and Tegna-owned affiliates in San Diego and Hartford will not air LIV Golf.
The outlet also reported that the 12 Scripps-owned affiliates were “late in agreeing” to air the tournaments. Sinclair, which owns 30 affiliates, is rumored to be “receiving some sort of compensation” to broadcast LIV Golf.