Another Tiger Crash: Masters Ratings Not Up to Predictions
By Stephanie Wei under General

Remember a few weeks ago CBS boss Sean McManus had delusions of grandeur in  anticipation of the colossal ratings for Tiger’s return at The Masters?

I think the first tournament Tiger Woods plays again, wherever it is, will be the biggest media event other than the Obama inauguration in the past 10 or 15 years…And whatever he does on the golf course for the first time since Thanksgiving will be of interest to almost every man and women in this country.

So, how did ratings turn out? Sunday’s coverage of The Masters didn’t come close to setting a ratings record for golf, falling well short of the numbers set in 1997 when Tiger won his first Masters title. The spectacular performance by Phil the Family Man generated a 10.7/24 rating, the third highest in golf telecast history and a 29% increase over last year’s final round when Angel Cabrera won in a two-hole playoff against Kenny Perry and Chad Campbell. The second highest ratings came in 2001 during another Tiger Woods special when he won his second green jacket.

What lesson do the numbers give? The storybook ending with Phil winning is more appealing to the public than watching golfers not named Tiger Woods, but only Tiger has the ability to really move the needle.

I’m sure some non-golf geeks were intrigued by Tiger’s comeback, so they tuned in for about five minutes until they remembered they find golf boring to watch unless Tiger is doing something miraculous. Then they returned to their regularly scheduled programming. Which is a shame because I thought stretch beginning with Tiger’s eagle to at least Phil’s gutsy shot from the trees on 13 (if not until the last putt) was must-watch TV. Then again, I’m a golf geek.

Oh, I’m told Sunday’s ratings were slightly higher than what a regular season football game brings in — but not exactly anything close to numbers rivaling the Superbowl, or say, Obama’s inauguration.

[Photo by Harry How/Getty Images]