It's not shocking to note TV ratings for the final round of the 2011 U.S. Open were down 26 percent compared to the previous year's. However, 2011's 5.1 rating tied with 2009's -- and since 2002, only 2010 and 2008's 5.3 have been higher. So we're not talking about a completely apathetic populace.
Many are going to blame Tiger Woods' absence for that slightly disappointing figure. But as Tim Kawakami pointed out Friday, if Woods had been in the tournament, he still probably would've been trailing Rory anyway.
McIlroy's huge lead may have turned off some viewers, but based on anecdotal evidence, like the response when SB Nation asked its Twitter followers whether Rory's performance was "exhilarating or boring," plenty of sports fans were intrigued. Which leads us back to Tiger, since he's one of the world's few athletes with the power to draw in people who wouldn't have been watching anyway.