The 2012 U.S. Open ending was quite a bit closer than when Rory McIlroy won the event in 2011. That seems to be the reason the television ratings for the United States' golf major were given a solid boost on Sunday night despite relative no-name Webb Simpson coming out on top.
This year's Open was forced to compete with a compelling Game 3 of the NBA Finals, which likely pulled casual sports fans over to ABC, but the ratings were still up considerably from last year. USA Today's Michael Hiestad rounded up the ratings in his column on Monday morning.
The U.S. Open on NBC Sunday drew a 6.6 overnight. Predictably, that's up from last year's final-round coverage -- by 29% -- when the event's finish wasn't close and, more importantly, it didn't run in East Coast primetime.
But compared to two previous West Coast U.S. Opens that has similar primetime schedules -- in 2008 and 2010 -- NBC's Sunday coverage was down. It was down 22% from 2008 and 4% from 2010.
It's difficult to conclude anything from the fluctuating numbers, but it seems to be a good thing that this many people decided to tune in to watch golf on Sunday evening despite the factors working against the ratings.