SBD/Issue 112/Sports Media

NBC To Show Tiger During Match Play Airings Despite Early Ouster

NBC Producer Says It Is The Network's Duty
To Show What Happened To Tiger
With his loss Thursday in the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship, golfer Tiger Woods will not be playing Saturday and Sunday during "live network coverage of the event, but he'll still be prominent on NBC," according to Diane Pucin of the L.A. TIMES. NBC golf producer Tommy Roy said, "We'll have to deal with showing what happened to Tiger because this has gone from being a golf tournament to a news event. Our weekend telecast will have to deal with showing what happened to Tiger. It will be our duty" (L.A. TIMES, 2/27). But in San Diego, Jay Posner writes the "concern -- particularly if Phil Mickelson doesn't reach the Final Four -- is that NBC will continue to focus on Woods." Posner: "I hope when [Roy] says NBC will 'document' what happened to Woods, he's talking about a recap of just a few minutes. Anyone interested in Woods either found a way to watch his two matches on Golf Channel or PGATour.com ... or saw plenty of highlights on ESPN or any other outlet. Come midday tomorrow, nearly 48 hours after Woods' defeat, I think the last thing viewers want to see is an extended discussion of Tiger" (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 2/27).

MISSED OPPORTUNITY: In Houston, David Barron notes NBC will telecast the tournament from 2:00-6:00pm ET Saturday and Sunday, and the "chances for a noteworthy rating likely vanished into the ether with Woods' elimination" (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 2/27). In Ft. Worth, Ray Buck writes, "Just when the PGA Tour became relevant again, NBC lost its weekend chance to reel in viewers" (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 2/27). In Oakland, Cam Inman writes Tiger's elimination is "bad news for NBC, which now may as well show re-runs of 'Alf' in its weekend afternoon timeslots if it hopes to draw any ratings" (OAKLAND TRIBUNE, 2/27). In California, Jim Carlisle: "The bailout was nice while it lasted, but no more." NBC this week "gets nothing from Woods' comeback" (VENTURA COUNTY STAR, 2/27). In N.Y., George Willis writes Woods exits the tournament "taking with him the potential weekend television ratings boost and economic lift the PGA Tour had hoped he would bring" (N.Y. POST, 2/27). But in Albany, Pete Dougherty writes, "This week's blip aside, rest assured the networks are giddy that Woods is back" (Albany TIMES UNION, 2/27).

TIGER BOOM: Woods' return to competition Wednesday resulted in record Web traffic numbers on PGATour.com. The site set a single-day record of 2,504,820 videos streamed for its coverage of the Match Play event. It also earned more than 1,024,062 unique users, the largest ever on a non-major day and the second largest overall behind 1.5 million during the Woods-Rocco Mediate U.S. Open playoff on June 16, 2008. The site's 23,592,077 page views were up 120% from the opening round of the '08 Accenture Match Play event, which Woods won (THE DAILY).

OFF THE FAIRWAY: In Arizona, Greg Hansen writes Golf Channel's "all-Tiger, all-the-time coverage" of the tournament "hasn't been complicated." When the net cut to commercial "you'd see a panoramic view of cacti," and the production "came off like those long-ago 'Shell's Wonderful World of Golf' productions when [golfers Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus] would be playing a made-for-TV twosome in some exotic setting." Meanwhile, the tournament, and "all of those that find themselves without Tiger, should have a simple fall-back plan: Get Mickelson on stage and hope he doesn't goof it up" (ARIZONA DAILY STAR, 2/27). SI.com's Gary Van Sickle wrote under the header, "We Can Live Without Tiger Woods This Weekend At Match Play." Woods' elimination was "a brick wall that stopped the wave of Tigermania that had been almost out of control this week in the Arizona desert." But "this isn't the time to bemoan the loss of Woods and write off the tournament," as instead it is "a time to celebrate" golfer Tim Clark's accomplishment in defeating Woods (GOLF.com, 2/26).

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