The Live Feed is reporting that with the return of Tiger Woods, nearly into the first round lead, the Thursday round of the Masters golf tournament on ESPN looks, unsurprisingly, to be the most-watched Thursday ever. In early metered market household ratings, the telecast scored a 3.6 household rating, up 50% from 2009, and up 80% from 2008. The 2009 first round telecast, averaging 3.4 million viewers, was the largest Thursday audience to date at the time.
Update: Average viewership numbers are in, and it was a record
Some 4.94 million viewers on average tuned in coverage from Augusta National on April 8, [...]
The Thursday telecast topped the 4.76 million ESPN averaged for the U.S. Open playoff round on June 16, 2008, when Woods, playing on an injured knee, topped Rocco Mediate to claim his 14th major title.
Compared to last year's first round, Thursday's coverage jumped 47% in viewers from 3.37 million, with the rating and households impressions up 43% from a 2.8 and 2.75 million in 2009.