[PHOTO: Icon Sportswire]

The Players Championship delivered the most drama-filled and star-studded finish of the 2024 golf season thus far. Unfortunately, that didn’t lead to whopping TV ratings.

As reported by Sports Business Journal, final-round viewership across America of the PGA Tour’s flagship event was significantly down from last year. What’s interesting is that the tournament produced the same winner, Scottie Scheffler – and a much closer result.

Has ‘PGA Tour vs LIV’ fatigue already soured some fans on pro golf?

Last year 4.14 million Americans tuned in to see Scheffler cruise to a five-shot victory, but only 3.53 million watched the world No.1 win at TPC Sawgrass.

Even more disheartening for the tour and NBC is that this was the lowest-rated broadcast for any completed final round in a decade. In 2014, 3 million viewers watched Martin Kaymer beat Jim Furyk. Only 2.91 watched on Sunday in 2022, but bad weather pushed coverage to Golf Channel before a Monday finish won by Cameron Smith. That was also the last year before LIV Golf, whose players are banned from competing in PGA Tour events, came along.

These results are also part of a troubling trend going back to last year. Many believe the rift between the PGA Tour and LIV Golf has caused a fatigue effect among golf fans.

And as our Shane Ryan wrote, despite a plethora of stars, no one has replaced Tiger Woods as a true needle-mover. Woods hasn’t played in the Players Championship since 2019 and has played in only one round in 2024, withdrawing during the second round of the Genesis Invitational in February.

Earlier this week, PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan confirmed there had been a “constructive” meeting with PIF and LIV Golf head Yasir Al-Rumayyan as the two leagues continue to work towards a resolution that would see all the best golfers playing in more events together. The tour also entered a partnership with Strategic Sports Group in January.