Celebrity golf match breaks cable TV ratings record

Turner Sports said the Sunday telecast of “The Match: Champions for Charity” featuring Tiger Woods, Tom Brady, Phil Mickelson and Peyton Manning attracted an average of 5.8 million viewers.

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The celebrity golf match featuring Phil Mickelson, Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Tiger Woods set a  cable TV ratings record.

The celebrity golf match featuring Phil Mickelson, Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Tiger Woods set a cable TV ratings record.

Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images for The Match

ATLANTA — Two of the biggest names from the PGA Tour and the NFL proved to be must-see TV.

Turner Sports said the Sunday telecast of “The Match: Champions for Charity” attracted an average of 5.8 million viewers across four of its networks. Turner says it was the most-watched golf telecast in cable TV history.

It said the previous record was 4.9 million viewers on ESPN at the 2010 Masters, the year Tiger Woods returned to golf for the first time since the scandal in his personal life.

Woods and Peyton Manning scored a 1-up victory over Phil Mickelson and Tom Brady at Medalist Golf Club, a match that featured high entertainment with shots and with words, along with raising $20 million for COVID-19 relief funds.

The peak was 6.3 million average viewers from 4:45 to 5 p.m. Chicago time. That was about the time Brady, who had been lampooned on social media for his golf skills, silenced analyst Charles Barkley by holing out from the fairway for birdie.

It was the second straight Sunday of live golf on television after the pandemic shut down the sport on March 13. The previous week, Rory McIlroy and Dustin Johnson defeated Rickie Fowler and Matthew Wolff at Seminole in an exhibition that NBC Sports said attracted 2.35 million viewers across all formats.

The Champions for Charity match was shown on TNT, TBS, truTV and HLN.

The PGA Tour is set to return in two weeks at Colonial in Fort Worth, Texas, for the Charles Schwab Challenge.

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