Martin Dempster: PGA’s broadcasting deal was an utter joke

Tiger Woods was in contention for the second major in a row. Picture: Getty.
Tiger Woods was in contention for the second major in a row. Picture: Getty.
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I’m almost embarrassed to admit it but feel I have to: I didn’t see a single shot hit in the US PGA Championship, the event’s 100th staging, at Bellerive Country Club in St Louis. And, by the sounds of things, I wasn’t alone.

The final men’s major of the 
season seemed to be a blackout for the vast majority of golf fans on this side of the Atlantic due to the PGA of America signing a 
deal this year with a broadcasting company called Eleven Sports.

By all accounts, that didn’t go very well at all, the coverage from Missouri getting off to a bad start when the feed died in the first round on Thursday before cutting off again just as Brooks Koepka
was about to tap in the winning putt around midnight on Sunday.

While unconfirmed, it was claimed that only 3,000 people had signed up for a “free trial” by that opening circuit and it had increased to only 4,000 by the time the second round was taking place.

That, I’m afraid, is a complete and utter joke and all the more frustrating given that Tiger Woods, pictured, got himself into contention over 
the weekend.

Once that happened, I was indeed tempted to go on for a second time and take up that trial offer but, along with many others, I stopped that process
the minute I found myself having to supply credit card details and then having to cancel the transaction once the event was over to stop myself from being hit with a subscription charge.

In short, the PGA of America and IMG, which has the contract until 2021 to distribute the international rights for this event, badly got it wrong with this gamble and golf was ultimately the loser, especially
with a rejuvenated Woods getting himself in the mix for a second major in a row.