Rory McIlroy’s theory was disputed during a feud between the PGA Tour and LIV Golf

An alternative theory for golf’s declining ratings has been proposed by Wyndham Clark, who disputes Rory McIlroy’s belief that the ongoing feud between the PGA Tour and LIV Golf is responsible.

Figures have recently been released showing that viewership of the final round of the first major championship of the year fell by 20 percent. This is a worrying statistic as this isn’t just an issue at Augusta and similar declines have been seen across the PGA Tour in recent weeks, the Mirror US reports.

Clark responded to reports of declining viewership for this year’s Masters by saying “it doesn’t make sense.”

Other events also saw declines: viewership for the final round of the Waste Management Phoenix Opens in February fell 35 percent, the Arnold Palmer Invitational saw a decline of 30 percent, while March’s Players Championship saw a decline of 15 percent knew.

McIlroy, who is in the middle of the ongoing clash between the PGA Tour and its LIV Golf competitors, thinks this is a turnoff for fans. He was quoted last month saying: “If you look at the PGA Tour TV ratings this year, they are down 20 percent across the board.

“That’s a fifth. That’s big. I would say the numbers on LIV aren’t great either in terms of people signing up. I just think that with the fighting and everything that’s happened over the last few years, people getting better and better and it’s putting people off playing professional men’s golf, and that’s not a good thing for anyone.”

“It will be very interesting to see how the four major championships do, or even the three, because apart from Augusta, I think that kind of lives in its own world.”

US Open champion Clark, however, has a different angle. He expressed surprise at the perceived decline in interest in professional golf and disputed the idea that backstage politics have had a negative effect on viewership.

He said on this week’s RBC Heritage: “I just find it very hard to believe that the ratings have gone down.”

“When you’re at the tournament, it’s fantastic. I think the people I know who watch it loved it. I think golf is growing. I think golf sales have grown. I know golf membership is growing .”

“It makes no sense that the professional level of viewership would decline.”

Clark argues that the declining TV ratings may be due to fans switching to streaming platforms. “I think it’s because everyone is streaming and people are watching it from different directions than maybe the normal broadcast,” he suggested.

“I think that’s a bit of a skewed statistic in my opinion because it doesn’t make sense for every part of the game to grow but the professional level doesn’t. That’s kind of my opinion on that.”

Clark, who competes at Harbor Town this week, got off to a disappointing start on Thursday with a one-over-par round of 72 as he chases his second title of the season.

Visit our homepage for the latest local news and features about Irish America here.