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Tuesday, Apr. 13 3:10pm ET
Masters TV ratings take a dip
Associated Press

NEW YORK -- Since Tiger Woods' record-breaking performance at Augusta National in 1997, it's been all downhill for The Masters ratings.

After it appeared as though ratings for CBS' final-round coverage of The Masters would be up following an 8 percent increase from last year in the overnight ratings, the national ratings slipped 1 percent.

It was the second straight year that ratings for the finale of the country's most prestigious golf tournament have dropped.

Overnight ratings measure the top 44 markets in the country, while the nationals measure the entire country. Therefore, the dropoff was a result of fewer viewers in the smaller markets.

CBS' final round coverage of Jose Maria Olazabal's victory posted a 10.1 national mark and a 22 share, compared with a 10.2/28 during Mark O'Meara's win in 1998.

Saturday's third-round action recorded a 5.0/15, which was down 24 percent from 1998, and the two-day average for CBS was a 7.9/19 -- down from a 8.6/19 last year.

Woods broke the course record in 1997 by shooting a 270.

"No other golf tournament in America comes within 50 percent of The Masters," said CBS sports president Sean McManus. "There's something appealing to the casual golf fan."

However, the dip continues a trend in which the ratings of nearly all of the major sporting events has fallen in the past year, including the Super Bowl, World Series and NCAA men's basketball championship game.

When Olazabal won his first Masters in 1994, the tournament posted a 8.1 national rating for the final round and a 5.8 for the third round.

The rating is the percentage of TV households in the nation tuned to a program, and each network point represents 994,000 homes. The share is the percentage tuned to a program among those televisions on at the time.

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