Entering the final round, the 2012 U.S. Open has been on a tear in the ratings.
Third round coverage of the U.S. Open drew a 5.5 overnight rating on NBC Saturday evening, up 53% from last year (3.6), and up 22% from 2010 (4.5).
The 5.5 is the highest for third round action at the U.S. Open since 2002 (6.4). For some perspective, third round coverage in 2008 — both the first time the event aired in primetime and the last time Tiger Woods won — drew a 5.3 overnight.
Saturday’s coverage even drew a higher overnight than last year’s final round (5.1).
On Friday, second round action on NBC drew a 2.3 overnight, up 64% from last year and up 20% from 2010.
NBC has not been the only network benefiting from the ratings resurgence for this year’s U.S. Open. Second round action on ESPN drew 3.6 million viewers Friday evening, the largest audience ever on the network for a regular round of the U.S. Open.
Keep in mind this does not include the 2008 U.S. Open playoff between Woods and Rocco Mediate, which drew 4.762 million.
Overall, the Friday evening window ranks as the fifth-most viewed golf telecast ever on cable.