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Sunday, July 14, 2024

Tiger Woods’ Masters Return Could Bring Ratings Bonanza

  • He said Tuesday "as of now" he will play in this week's Masters -- his first official PGA event since November 2020.
  • Without the five-time champion in the field, TV ratings have suffered in recent years.
Danielle Parhizkaran – Augusta Chronicle/USA TODAY Network

Tiger Woods said “as of now” he intends to play in this week’s Masters – and that could result in a surge in TV ratings for the event at Augusta National Golf Club. 

On Tuesday, Woods met with the media and said his recovery from a car crash 14 months ago that nearly resulted in the amputation of his right leg “has been good” and he will make a run at a record-tying sixth green jacket.

That’s good news for ESPN and CBS, which will each televise the tournament. When Woods played with his son, Charlie, in the PNC Championship in December, NBC’s ratings (2.34 million viewers and a 1.4 rating on Saturday) nearly doubled from the previous year.

Masters ratings have suffered without Woods as its main attraction. During Hideki Masuyama’s victory at the 2021 Masters, Sunday viewership averaged a 5.5 rating and 9.45 million viewers, the second-lowest final round at Augusta since 1957.

When Woods made a remarkable run to the 2019 Masters championship – his 15th and last major – the final round had 10.81 million viewers (6.9 rating).

While the official purse will be announced Saturday, Woods will be seeking the winner’s share that was just over $2 million of an $11.5 million purse in 2021.

Woods is scheduled to tee off in Thursday’s first round at 10:34 a.m. ET alongside Louis Oosthuizen and Joaquin Niemann. On Friday, the threesome will start at 1:41 p.m. ET. ESPN has coverage on Thursday and Friday while CBS will broadcast the tournament on Saturday and Sunday. ESPN+ and Paramount+ will also stream portions of the event on all four days.

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