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Will Tiger Woods' Return Lead To A Masters Ratings Boost?

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Written By

April 9th, 2009

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Even a "tradition like no other..." is subject to the magic of Tiger Woods. TV ratings for The Masters at Augusta National from 1977-1996 were quite consistent, averaging 9.5 million viewers for the 2 day CBS weekend broadcasts. Since 1997, and the start of the "Tiger Woods Era", The Masters has averaged 11.7 million viewers, with noticeable peaks when Tiger was the winner (1997, 2001, 2002, 2005), or in the case of 2007, in contention on the final day and finished tied for second. People will consistently tune in to see what happens at "Amen Corner" (the 11, 12th and 13th holes), but only Tiger draws viewers...like no other.

One of the most memorable Masters' moments for both Robert and myself was the 1986 tournament. After a bogie on the 12th hole, Jack Nicklaus charged through the remainder of the course to take the lead. Back in 1986, by the time you were in your mid 40s you generally didn't contend in the majors. Nicklaus had already won five Masters, but he hadn't won the tournament since 1975. In 1986 the Golden Bear was still in the 18-49 demographic at the ripe old age of 46 picked up his sixth Masters. This would be Nicklaus' last victory in one of the four major tournaments.

While Tiger, like Arnold Palmer has "only" four Masters victories so far, his perhaps most memorable Master's moment in 2005 was not the most viewed. Though the table below represents Saturday and Sunday averages, we have the individual day data back to 1992. The Sunday of Tiger's first victory in 1997 was his (and CBS') best Nielsen performance drawing 20.26 million on Sunday, April 13, 1997. We're including a memorable video clip from 2005 below the data table. That Sunday, April 10, 2005 CBS drew 14.63 million viewers.

Average Weekend Viewers for The Masters Golf Tournament, 1977-2008:


Year Rating Share Homes (million) Viewers (million)
Winner
2008 7.3 16 8.21 10.99 Trevor Immelman
2007 7.6 18 8.42 11.90 Zach Johnson
2006 6.9 16 7.56 9.94 Phil Mickelson
2005 8.0 19 8.80 11.82 Tiger Woods
2004 6.7 18 7.25 10.27 Phil Mickelson
2003 6.9 17 7.38 9.52 Mike Weir
2002 8.1 20 8.58 11.41 Tiger Woods
2001 10.7 26 10.95 14.99 Tiger Woods
2000 7.6 18 7.61 10.12 Vijay Singh
1999 7.9 19 7.83 10.58 Jose Maria Olazabal
1998 8.6 25 8.41 12.45 Mark O'Meara
1997 11.2 27 10.91 15.85 Tiger Woods
1996 7.6 19 7.26 10.18 Nick Faldo*
1995 7.8 20 7.40 10.16 Ben Crenshaw
1994 6.9 18 6.52 8.67 Jose Maria Olazabal
1993 6.1 17 5.63 7.90 Bernhard Langer
1992 6.7 18 6.16 8.86 Fred Couples
1991 7.4 19 6.92 10.23 Ian Woosman
1990 8.4 21 7.74 11.03 Nick Faldo*
1989 7.8 19 7.07 10.50 Nick Faldo*
1988 6.7 18 5.97 8.41 Sandy Lyle
1987 8.2 22 7.17 10.48 Larry Mize*
1986 6.5 18 5.62 8.30 Jack Nicklaus
1985 6.7 17 5.66 8.76 Bernhard Langer
1984 7.7 19 6.43 7.86 Ben Crenshaw
1983 8.0 19 6.70 9.21 Seve Ballesteros
1982 8.0 22 6.50 10.43 Craig Stadler*
1981 9.1 24 7.11 10.36 Tom Watson
1980 6.2 17 4.71 Seve Ballesteros
1979 7.8 24 5.81 10.49 Fuzzy Zoeller*
1978 8.4 26 6.12 10.11 Gary Player
1977 7.6 26 5.41 7.75 Tom Watson
1976 8.7 26 Raymond Floyd
1975 10.0 30 Jack Nicklaus
1974 7.7 27 Gary Player
1973 8.4 22 Tommy Aaron
1972 10.9 33 Jack Nicklaus
1971 8.5 31 6.77 Charles Coody

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*playoff

Note: The chart above shows the average viewership for the final two days broadcasts each year. Within the chart period all broadcasts were on CBS. The Masters has been telecast each year since 1956. 2006-8 viewers are Live+SD, all prior years are Live viewing.
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Nielsen TV Ratings Data: ©2008 Nielsen Media Research, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

 
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