CBS set for huge Masters ratings with Tiger Woods


As big of a draw as the Masters Tournament is, it stands to be a ratings blockbuster next month on CBS. That’s because Tiger Woods has announced that he will return to the links with the Masters after a four-month hiatus due to a sex scandal.

While several advertisers have dropped Woods as their public endorser due to his tarnished image, but the scandal hasn’t diminished audience interest in Woods. If anything, it has raised public curiosity and might draw viewers to the tournament who don’t normally watch golf.

That’s not only good news for CBS, which has the broadcast rights to the final weekend, but to ESPN as well, which will be televising the first two rounds.

For the small number of people who own 3D television sets, there will be an added bonus of bein able to watch Tiger Woods’ return in 3D. Augusta national Golf Club and Masters Tournament Chairman Billy Payne announced just before Woods made his return declaration that the Masters will be broadcast live in 3D this year – a first for professional golf.

The four tournament rounds take place Thursday, April 8th through Sunday, April 11th.

What is the target for this year’s Masters Tournament to beat? The Nielsen Company provided this ratings history.

Top 10 Major Golf  Final Round Telecasts
(Since 1977)
Rank Program Network Household Rating (%) Winner
1 Masters 1997 CBS 14.1 Woods
2 Masters 2001 CBS 13.0 Woods
3 Masters 1981 CBS 10.6 Watson
4 Masters 1990 CBS 10.5 Faldo*
5 Masters 1998 CBS 10.2 O’Meara
6 Masters 1999 CBS 10.1 Olazabal
7 Masters 2000 CBS 10.0 Singh
8 Masters 1987 CBS 9.9 Mize*
9 Masters 1989 CBS 9.9 Faldo*
10 Masters 2005 CBS 9.8 Woods
Source: The Nielsen Company
*indicates playoff

Last year, Nielsen found that ratings for tournaments missed by Tiger Woods were down by almost half. So far this year, his absence from the PGA Tour has not had such a dramatic effect. Ratings for final round coverage of PGA tournaments are down just 11% season-to-date compared to the same period last year, Nielsen said.