It's often said that Tiger Woods doesn't so much move the needle in golf as he is the needle. And, according to the broadcast numbers from his Masters triumph, that barometer broke on Sunday.
CBS Sports released its audience figures from the final round broadcast at Augusta National. Despite fears that the moved-up tee times—the leaders went off five hours earlier due to weather threats—could wreak havoc on its viewership, it appears the magnetism of Woods trumps the pitfalls of a morning telecast. An average of 10.8 million viewers tuned in on Sunday of the Masters, making it the most watched morning golf presentation in history.
The 2000 Open Championship at St. Andrews—which Woods won by eight shots to complete the career Grand Slam at 24—was the previous best morning for a golf telecast with 8.56 million, according to Nielsen data.
In a statement, CBS said the broadcast peaked in viewership from 2:15 to 2:30 p.m. ET, boasting 18.3 million people. Just as impressive, a rerun of the broadcast averaged 4.5 million tune-ins. For context, that made it the second-highest golf broadcast (not counting the Masters' morning viewing) of the year, only behind Saturday's third-round coverage from Augusta National.
The 10.8 million is the highest golf broadcast since last year's Masters pulled in 11.1 million. Woods' 1997 Masters breakthrough holds the record with an estimated 44 million television audience.