NBC's ad-lite, HD-heavy coverage of The Players (formerly The Players Championship) averaged a 3.1/7 overnight rating/share in households. That was up 19% over 2006, according to network.
The golf tournament was in March last year but has been moved to May. This year, the final round featured one of the game's most popular players, Phil Mickelson, battling playing partner Sean O'Hair to the island 17th green, where O'Hair dropped two in the drink to end the suspense.
It was the first time the tournament aired in HD, and with limited commercial interruptions. There were only four minutes of commercials per hour, plus promos and station ID's.
Clearly, the PGA is angling for major status for the tournament, having dropped the "Championship" from the name, arguably to make it sound more like "The Masters" which also limits commercial breaks.
The tournament was a time buy on NBC, with the PGA controlling all the ad time.