NBC: 2.35 million tuned in for live coronavirus relief event

ORLANDO, Fla. -- The return of live golf to television brought 2.35 million viewers across all platforms, which NBC Sports says was 16% higher than the final of the Dell Match Play last year.

The TaylorMade Driving Relief on Sunday from Seminole Golf Club was shown from 2 p.m. to just after 6:30 p.m. on NBC, Golf Channel, NBCSN, along with NBC Sports and PGA Tour streaming outlets.

Rory McIlroy won a closest-to-the-pin playoff worth six skins valued at $1.1 million as he and Dustin Johnson defeated Rickie Fowler and Matthew Wolff. More than $5.5 million was raised for COVID-19 relief funds, with more donations being accepted through Tuesday.

NBC used the Match Play as a comparison because only four players were on the course in both formats. Kevin Kisner beat Matt Kuchar in the Match Play last year that had a total audience delivery of 2.03 million.

The Seminole exhibition was up against the official return of NASCAR. The Match Play last year on March 31, however, was part of a TV lineup filled with sports, including NCAA basketball tournament, Major League Baseball and a NASCAR race.

NBC says the Skins game at Seminole was roughly the same as viewership for network coverage of the PGA Tour in the second quarter of 2019.

NBC says there were 762,000 average viewers from the 25-54 age group, which was two-thirds more than the same age group watching Match Play last year, and 44% more than PGA Tour coverage from the second quarter last year.

The Sunday exhibition also had linear coverage on Sky Sports and other PGA Tour global media partners. Streaming was available on NBC Sports Gold and Amazon Prime Video, GolfPass, GolfChannel.com and GolfTV.