December 07, 2010
Say what you want about Tiger Woods; anything you want. He's a cheater. He's a scumbag. He's a bad guy. He's a bad tipper. Dog the man for days and days, but you will never take this fact away: When Tiger is in contention at golf tournaments, viewers will swarm.
On Sunday alone, people from all sports were switching over to NBC to catch the drama that was the Chevron World Challenge, and the difference was shown in the ratings.
The 2.7 overnight rating for the Chevron was up 170 percent from last year and the highest since 2002, when Tiger was also in the hunt, eventually losing to Padraig Harrington.
How crazy is a 2.7 for an event that isn't even recognized by the PGA Tour? It's higher than the final round of the British Open this year, which drew a 2.6 (but, for full disclosure, this year's British was the lowest ratings ever).
Still, the formula for success with networks showing golf is still the same as 1996, when Woods began with the "Hello World" ad. Tiger + contention = money.