New York Without Tiger Woods on the leaderboard, U.S. Open ratings dropped but still produced a near-record audience.
NBC's weekend coverage of the third and fourth rounds of the Open from Southern Hills Golf Club in Tulsa, Okla., drew a final national rating of 6.2 with a 17 share, according to numbers released Tuesday by Nielsen Media Research.
Since 1987, the numbers were the second highest, behind the 6.7 rating/18 share from Woods' 15-shot victory at the 2000 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach. In '87, the two-day average was a 6.5 rating/19 share for Scott Simpson's win.
Each rating point represents 1,080,000 households, or 1 percent of the nation's estimated 100.8 million TV homes.
A total of 48 million viewers watched all or part of Saturday and Sunday's coverage, according to NBC Sports estimates. A record 53 million watched last year.
Sunday's fourth round, which featured the goofy putting of Retief Goosen and Stewart Cink that forced an 18-hole playoff Monday won by Goosen over Mark Brooks, brought a 7.2 national rating and a 19 share. Since '87, those numbers trailed only the 8.1/21 for Woods' 2000 win.
Woods, trying for an unprecedented fifth straight Grand Slam tournament victory, finished seven strokes behind the leaders, tied for 12th.
From 6:30 p.m. CDT to 7 p.m. Sunday, coverage peaked with an 8.8 rating/20 share during the putting woes of Brooks and a few minutes later by Cink and Goosen. The results of all missing short putts on No. 18 was a playoff between Goosen and Brooks, with Cink a shot back after missing an 18-incher.
Saturday's telecast drew a 5.3 rating and 15 share, off 7 percent from last year's 5.7/15.
Monday's playoff, on NBC from 1 p.m. to 3:15 p.m., produced an overnight rating of 4.0/12.
Overnight ratings measure the largest markets, comprising 63 percent of the United States. The share is the percentage of in-use TVs tuned to a given program.