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Fox: 11.2M Watched U.S. Open 18th Hole

Fox said viewing of the exciting end to the U.S. Open Championship hit 11.2 million viewers, tuning in to see 21-year-old Jordan Spieth win a second consecutive major championship victory as Dustin Johnson agonizingly missed a birdie putt that would have forced an 18-hole playoff. Before missing the birdie chance, Johnson missed a potential winning, eagle putt.

Sunday's final round of the first U.S. Open to be televised on Fox and Fox Sports 1 was tightly contested affair, and Fox counted several Nielsen marks to note. The day's coverage posted a 4.2 household rating, averaging 6.7 million viewers on the Fox broadcast network, up 46% over the U.S. Open’s final round in 2014 (4.6 million), the programmer said in a release. The 4.2 rating versus 2014’s 3.0 marked the largest year-over-year gain for the final round since 1991-1992 (4.7/15 to 7.0/19), Fox said.

Four-day coverage of the 115th U.S. Open Championship,from Chambers Bay in Washington state, averaged a combined 3.5 million viewers each day across Fox and Fox Sports 1, which was up 40% over last year’s combined average on ESPN and NBC (2.5 million viewers), Fox said. According to a custom analysis provided by Nielsen, the almost 40 hours of coverage of the 2015 U.S. Open reached a total of 34.9 million viewers, Fox said.

The peak on Sunday came in the 10-10:30 p.m. ET half four when Spieth -- who won The Masters earlier this year -- birdied the 18th hole and runner-up Johnson three putted to finish one shot back. 

Fox said the primetime portion of Sunday’s telecast averaged a 5.3 rating and 8.7 million viewers from 7-10:46 p.m. ET, winning the night among the broadcast networks and giving Fox its most-watched Sunday night in primetime since Jan. 4 (NFC Wild Card Playoffs).

Ratings for the final round, compared to 2014, saw gains among men ages 18-34 (up 63%, at 1.3 vs. 0.8) and men ages 18-49 (up 46%, at 1.9 vs.1.3).

Over four days, Fox broadcast network coverage averaged 4.8 million viewers, up 41% over NBC’s average audience for the U.S. Open in 2014 (3.5 million viewers).

Digitally, through Fox Sports Go, and the U.S. Open official app, total live streams started were up 354% (5.9 million vs. 1.3 million) over 2014, Fox said, and total streamed minutes reached 158 million. The U.S. Open’s previous high was 130 million minutes in 2012.

Kent has been a journalist, writer and editor at Multichannel News since 1994 and with Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He is a good point of contact for anything editorial at the publications and for Before joining Multichannel News he had been a newspaper reporter with publications including The Washington Times, The Poughkeepsie (N.Y.) Journal and North County News.