Though in his statement this morning Tiger Woods didn't preclude a return to golf this year, he also didn't announce any specific plans to return. That spells bad news for the tournaments and the ratings. Ratings are typically 50% worse when Tiger isn't participating.
Before today I'd fully expected that Tiger would be playing by this year's Masters (including one tune-up tournament prior to it). That's still not off the table, but doesn't seem nearly as certain to me as it did before. The Masters may be a "Tradition Unlike Any Other," but when it comes to ratings, Woods is a golfer unlike any other. A big problem for the PGA in general, an even bigger problem if Woods isn't playing.
VIEWERSHIP OF PGA TOURNAMENTS MISSED BY TIGER WOODS DUE TO INJURY IN 2008-09:
|TOURNAMENT||NETWORK||# OF VIEWERS P2+, 2007-08||# OF VIEWERS P2+, 2008-09||% CHANGE|
|NEC WORLD SERIES GOLF-SAT||CBS||3,250,000||1,793,000||-44.8%|
|NEC WORLD SERIES GOLF-SUN||CBS||**4,541,000||3,018,000||-33.5%|
|BUICK INV PGA GOLF-SAT||CBS||3,761,000||1,601,000||-57.4%|
|BUICK INV PGA GOLF-SUN||CBS||**6,193,000||2,868,000||-53.7%|
|DEUTSCHE GOLF CHAMP-SUN||NBC||3,658,000||1,960,000||-46.4%|
|DEUTSCHE GOLF CHAMP-MON||NBC||4,936,000||2,116,000||-57.1%|
|BMW GOLF CHAMPIONSHIP-SAT||NBC||3,113,000||1,091,000||-65.0%|
|BMW GOLF CHAMPIONSHIP-SUN||NBC||**4,358,000||1,678,000||-61.5%|
|source: The Nielsen Company 2009** – tournament won by Tiger Woods
^^ – play suspended by inclement weather
More via Nielsen wire.