- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 20, 2010

NEW YORK (AP) - Little drama and a little-known champion sent the British Open’s television ratings plummeting to a record low.

South Africa’s Louis Oosthuizen led over the last 48 holes and won by seven shots, his victory almost never in doubt during the final round. ESPN said Sunday’s coverage drew a 2.1 rating, down 45 percent from last year’s 3.8. The previous low was a 3.1 in 1996, according to Nielsen, when Tom Lehman went into the final round with a six-shot lead.

Average ratings for the first three rounds were up from 2009, increasing from 1.3 to 1.4.

This was the first year the tournament was broadcast entirely on cable. The coverage previously was split between TNT and ABC.

Ratings represent the percentage of all homes with televisions tuned into a program.

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