pretty bad news for most Tiger fans -- for most golf fans, really --
but it's also pretty interesting news. Interesting because, for the
first time since 1994, we're going to see exactly what a Tiger-less
Masters looks like. And with his injuries mounting and his career
seemingly at another turning point, this information could prove
important moving forward.
his recent U.S. Open performances -- which feature everything from a
win in 2008 to a did not play in 2011 -- Tiger's Masters record is
consistently solid. Since 2007, he has only finished outside of the top
six once. In turn, CBS has been able to count on Woods to help draw in
TV viewers for its final-round coverage.
Here's how the Masters and U.S. Open Sunday television ratings look during that time:
will Tiger's absence affect ratings this year? It's hard to estimate
exactly how much of an effect it might have, but it's unlikely that it
won't have any effect. As you can see above, the Masters' lowest
rating in 2012 corresponded with Tiger's worst-ever professional finish
(T-40) at the Augusta National -- something widely highlighted in the event's aftermath.It
was a 1.5 point drop-off from the previous year, and when he was back
in contention in 2013, ratings spiked more than two points. A two-point
drop, then, on Sunday in 2014 seems a reasonable estimation.
a similar trend at play in the U.S. Open ratings. The lower ratings NBC
pulled in for a Tiger-less Open at Congressional in 2011 look worse
because of the two West Coast Opens that surround it. Still, it winds up
being a full point lower than the 2013 U.S. Open -- another East Coast
venue where Tiger Woods finished T-32.
Bottom line: Augusta National may be all-powerful, but even it may be vulnerable to the Tiger-TV effect.