(Image via Twitter)
(via Golf Digest)
Woods’ return to contention during a major final round was a catalyst of curiosity throughout the world on Sunday, a sentiment reflected in the ratings. According to NBC Sports and Golf Channel, which televised the Open Championship, this year’s tournament drew a 5.0 overnight figure. That’s the highest number since the 2006 Open (won by Woods at Royal Liverpool, which also drew a 5.0), only topped by the 2000 Open at St. Andrews, where Woods won his first claret jug to complete the career Grand Slam.
It should be noted Tiger vying for his 15th major, and first in nearly a decade, wasn’t the lone storyline on Sunday, as bids from Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy held their own excitement. Still, given Sunday’s historical comparisons, it’s easy to see who spurred audiences to tune in.
There are three certainties in life: Death, Taxes, and people tuning into golf if Tiger Woods is in the hunt. This, I think, is mostly two-fold. One, many casual golf fans and non-golf fans know who Tiger Woods is. He was on pace to become the Sports world’s first billionaire (MJ beat him to it), was an unstoppable force in the apex of his career, and had a crash and burn that was amazing to watch. People are lured to see if Tiger can become the Tiger of old, which he never will be again, but this tournament showed some glimpses that he could still compete.
The second, and more prevalent reason, is the Tiger fanboys. Now while I do not consider myself a huge Tiger fanboy, I do love to watch Tiger in the mix. Hell, I even got into tweeting his almost every move.
Now imagine my feed times about 1 million, and you get the great Tiger Tracker. It truly is amazing to see what the Tiger boys will put up while he is playing great, and of course some of the most amazing excuses when he ultimately falls back to earth. The amount of, “I’m just happy Tiger is healthy” nonsense on Twitter is absolutely ridiculous. But here’s the thing: the Tiger boys are right. Golf is, has been, and will be better when Tiger is in the mix. He just brings this bravado and awe that has not been matched and probably won’t be for the foreseeable future.
Now all I need is a Tiger/Phil last pairing and it will be like 2002-2008 all over again!