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Golf Channel Drives Best January Ratings

Golf Channel holed its best January in the network's 16-year history with the Nielsens.
The network, scoring with tourney play, original series and instructional fare, attracted more than 15 million total viewers, its most during the first month of the year by 1 million more viewers and a gain of nearly 3 million more viewers over the past five years.
Last week, Golf Channel posted a 117% increase year over year for its PGA Tour coverage of the Farmers Insurance Open, which included Tiger Woods. That follows a 38% gain with the 2011 season-opening Hyundai Tournament of Champions and a 60% uptick for the Bob Hope Classic. Combined ratings for Golf's first four events of the 2011 PGA season advanced 48% over last year.

The network's Tuesday night lineup of originals has doubled in viewership from January 2010, driven by the third- season premiere of The Haney Project, which garnered 310,000 watchers to see the swing coach work with Rush Limbaugh. That was the most for any network original debut since The Haney Project launched with Charles Barkley in March 2009. Pipe Dream, chronicling the life of homeless golfer Mark Burk, improved 35% from week one to week two.

Instruction, under the "Golf Channel Academy" brand, also grew, with The Golf Fix and the network's newest offering, School of Golf, leading the way to a 75% increase in delivery over genre last January.

"This is an impressive start to what should be a great year, and evidence of the tremendous amount of momentum at Golf Channel," said new Golf Channel president Mike McCarley in a statment. "It's also a real testament to the great work not only being done by Tom Stathakes and his production and programming team, but also by all areas of the network, as well."