Going into the final round today, Sunday, March 4, 2012, of the Honda Classic at the PGA National Champion Course in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, Rory McIlroy is -11 under par and has a two shot lead over Harrish English and Tom Gillis.
Rory McIlroy Has Two-Stroke Lead at Honda Classic
Phil Mickelson is not playing in the Honda Classic, and Tiger Woods sits nine strokes back. Tiger will tee off for the final round a full one hour and 10 minutes ahead of Rory McIlroy.
Without Phil Mickelson, and with Tiger Woods well back in the field, will fans watch the final round of the Honda Classic to see if Rory McIlroy will win? Can Rory McIlroy deliver big TV ratings for golf?
TV Ratings Have Been Excellent for Golf So Far in 2012
The PGA Tour has gotten off to a fantastic start in 2012. The TV ratings for the Pebble Beach Pro-Am and the Northern Trust Open, both played in February, were great. With Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods paired together in the final round at Pebble Beach, that tournament's final round did the highest TV ratings of any final round in golf outside of the four majors in five years.
The final round of the Northern Trust Open, played one week after Pebble Beach, also did great TV ratings. And that was without Tiger Woods playing in the tournament, but with Phil Mickelson ending up in a three way sudden death playoff.
Can Rory McIlroy Deliver TV Ratings for Golf?
With Phil Mickelson not playing, and Tiger Woods well back in the field, it is going to be interesting to see if fans will tune in today to watch Rory McIlroy. You know PGA officials will be hoping that Rory McIlroy can deliver some ratings.
After leading the 2011 Masters by four strokes heading into the final round, and then blowing the lead and shooting a final round 80 at Augusta, Rory McIlroy won the 2011 U.S. Open in record setting fashion. McIlroy won the U.S. Open by shooting -16 under par, which shattered the record for under par at the U.S. Open by four strokes.
So Rory McIlroy gained a lot of fame by winning the U.S. Open as he did last year. McIlroy also has some celebrity status and has been in the gossip pages because he's dating tennis pro Caroline Wozniacki. Wozniacki is reportedly in Florida to root her beau Rory McIlroy on at the Honda Classic.
I've been a golfer and big time golf fan since I was a kid in the 1970s. I've enjoyed the heights that Tiger Woods has been able to take golf to over the last 15 years or so, and would like to see Rory McIlroy be able to draw in TV viewers the way Tiger and Phil Mickelson have. Can he do it? I don't know, but I'll be watching for sure.
- Tiger Woods
- Rory McIlroy