When word spread that Tiger was within striking distance of the title, his 15th career major, viewers tuned in en masse. Ratings spiked at a 7.0/16 rating/share and were up 5% from last year’s tournament.
Woods’ eventual win capped a remarkable comeback from the golfing wilderness. After a headline-making sex scandal in 2009, Tiger’s previous dominance gave way to controversy and ill health. Although he returned to the number one ranking in 2013, he was later dogged by persistent back problems and there was talk about whether he would give the sport once towered over away.
— Reuters (@Reuters) April 14, 2019
2019 Masters Champion Tiger Woods, a “one-person economic stimulus”
Woods finished with a two-under-par round to go 13 under for the tournament, one stroke ahead of US trio Dustin Johnson, Xander Schauffele and Brooks Koepka.
His final putt sparked raucous scenes. “I’m a little hoarse from yelling,” he said later. “I was just trying to plod my way around all day then all of a sudden I had the lead.
“It will be up there with one of the hardest I’ve had to win because of what has transpired in the last couple of years.”
Tiger's Masters Win a Major Boost for the Brands Still With Him https://t.co/QNGbC9bexv
— Bloomberg (@business) April 14, 2019
When Tiger missed successive Masters tournaments in 2016 and 2017, this victory seemed distant, but Bob Dorfman of Baker Street Advertising told Bloomberg that Woods’ resurgence had brought in a wider audience.
“Every time someone is head and shoulders above everyone else it tends to bring in not just the hardcore fans, but the casual fans as well,” the sports marketing expert said, likening Woods’ pulling power to that of basketballer Michael Jordan or NFL icon Tom Brady.
“He moves the needle like no other golfer does or ever has done,” Dorfman said. “Nobody can do what he does and it’s amazing he’s been able to do it for as long as he has.”
The Athletic writer Richard Deitsch noted “There is no athlete in the United States who drives TV ratings for his or her sport more than Tiger Woods,” on Twitter. “A one-person economic stimulus” he concluded.
I’ve been awake since 4:45 am PT I cant sleep I’m nervous it’s too early for punctuation let’s go Tiger Woods
— Bill Simmons (@BillSimmons) April 14, 2019
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 14, 2019
Congratulations, Tiger! To come back and win the Masters after all the highs and lows is a testament to excellence, grit, and determination.
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) April 14, 2019
Tiger burning bright at age 43, still a magnet for casual fans
Woods’ incredible influence on television viewing patterns is not a new phenomenon; when he missed the Masters back in 2014, ratings dropped an incredible 28% with 800,000 less people tuning in.
Last year, his victory at the Tour Championship in Atlanta, his first tournament win in five years, also saw ratings skyrocket. Overnight ratings for the event doubled those from the previous Tiger-free year and set new benchmarks for the tournament.
The three major tournaments he played in 2018 also saw an average 40% bump in the final round due to the ‘Tiger effect’. When he was in contention for the PGA Championship, CBS saw its ratings climb by 69%. Conversely, the 2017 US Open, where he was absent, recorded the third-lowest ratings on record for a final round.
2018 also saw Woods take part in ‘The Match’, a one-on-one showdown with rival Phil Mickelson on pay-per-view television. Despite some technical hitches and scepticism from the golfing fraternity, the event was watched by 750,000 on the Bleacher Report digital platform alone and sponsors are reportedly interested in round two.