Scheffler arrest drove PGA Championship ratings spike

golf21 May 2024 16:56| © Reuters
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Scottie Scheffler © Getty Images

Scottie Scheffler's arrest drama contributed to an 18 per cent viewership boost for Friday's second round of the PGA Championship, Sports Business Journal reported on Tuesday.

The second round from Valhalla in Louisville, Kentucky, averaged 1.61 million viewers on ESPN from noon to 8 pm. ET, up from 1.37 million for the same slot for the 2023 tournament at Oak Hill in New York.

Scheffler, 27, was arrested in the pre-dawn hours on Friday, shortly after arriving at the golf course, and charged with felony assault of a police officer.

He also was charged with third-degree criminal mischief, reckless driving and disregarding signals from officers directing traffic.

Louisville police said an officer was "dragged to the ground" by a vehicle driven by Scheffler, who was attempting to bypass a backup caused by the fatal accident earlier that morning.

Scheffler was released from custody after being booked at the Louisville Metro Department of Corrections, after his mug shot was taken while wearing an orange jail-issued jumpsuit.

He was released in time to make his tee time, which was pushed back by 80 minutes for all players because of the traffic jam that resulted from the accident.

Scheffler finished T8 in the event after shooting a final round 65 on Sunday.

Studio programming on ESPN, which went heavy on Scheffler coverage, also saw gains over the same windows from the prior Friday.

The 7 am "SportsCentre" averaged 330 000 viewers, up from 280 000 the prior week.

"Get Up" at 8 am. drew 434 000, up from 397 000, and "First Take" at 10 am drew 565 000, up from 516 000.