Monday, April 15, 2013

Dramatic Masters Finish Draws Big TV Ratings

Tiger looked to be surging toward the top of the leader board at the Masters on Friday. When he hit his third shot on the par five 15th hole, everything changed. Tiger hit what looked to be a great shot but he caught a terrible break. The ball hit the flag stick and then proceeded to ricochet into the water. After Tiger took his drop and proceeded to make bogey, he thought the hole was over. After review, Tiger was penalized the next morning two strokes because of an illegal drop.

Despite the unfortunate break and the penalty, Tiger was still able to put himself in the conversation on Sunday. After playing average golf on the front nine, Tiger put together a run on the back nine but fell short in the end on Sunday. Tiger being in the hunt at the Masters was critical to CBS's high television ratings.

Not only was Tiger brining excitement to the Masters. A tight leader board filled with names going into Sunday's final round included Angel Cabrera, Jason Day, Marc Leishman, Brandt Snedeker, Adam Scott and more. The tournament remained close throughout.

Adam Scott looked to take control when he birdied the 18th to give him a one stoke lead over Angel Cabrera whose was waiting to hit from the 18th fairway. Cabrera proceeded to hit a close shot into 18 and make his birdie put to force a playoff. After both players made par on the first playoff hole, Adam Scott made a birdie putt on the second playoff hole to win the Masters. All the excitement was evident and reflected in the television ratings.

Sunday's final round drew a 10.2 overnight rating which was up 26% from last year. Ratings were expected to be up because last year's tournament was held on Easter weekend. Last year's tournament did also feature a playoff, so the increased ratings were a good sign for the sport. The high point for ratings was seen (not surprisingly) between 7:00 and 7:30 Sunday night when ratings hit a 13.4.

Final Thought
The tournament was great to watch with so much drama down the stretch. Tiger is a huge part of the success and TV ratings in the sport of golf. I would be curious to know what the Sunday ratings would look like if Tiger was not in contention. If the tournament was as exciting as it was, I tend to believe that ratings would still have been up from last year even without Tiger in the hunt. There is no doubt however that Tiger Woods is a huge factor in controlling how popular the sport of golf is at any given time.


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