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Volume 25 No. 67
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Tiger Helps NBC To Big Ratings Win At Valspar Championship

Woods helped NBC to a 190% year-over-year ratings increase for the Valspar
Photo: GETTY IMAGES

Tiger Woods once again showed his value to the PGA Tour and its media partners, as NBC yesterday drew a 5.1 overnight rating for the final round of the Valspar Championship, which saw Woods finish one shot behind eventual winner Paul Casey. That number is up 183% from a 1.8 rating for the final round last year, which saw Adam Hadwin win by a shot over Patrick Cantlay. Yesterday marks the best overnight rating for any regular PGA Tour event or major, excluding the Masters, since the final round of the '15 PGA Championship. It also marked the highest rating for a regular-season PGA Tour round since the final day of the '13 Players Championship, which Woods won (5.7 overnight). Meanwhile, Saturday’s coverage on NBC drew a 3.3 overnight, which is the best third round for any PGA Tour third round on broadcast TV since the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational in ’06 (Woods was tied for second heading into the final round at that event). The 3.6 overnight also was better than any final-round rating for the Valspar Championship on record (dating back to ’07). For lead-in coverage on Saturday afternoon, Golf Channel drew a 1.1 overnight, which is the net’s best figure for the event ever and best for any event since the ’13 Deutsche Bank Championship. On Friday, Golf Channel drew a 0.6 overnight, marking the best second round telecast for the Valspar on record. Thursday’s figure was slightly higher, marking the best early-round audience for the Valspar on record for Golf Channel (Karp & Carpenter, THE DAILY).

LIKE OLD TIMES: In Tampa, Tom Jones writes the Woods storyline "wasn't just a big deal" locally. It was a "big deal everywhere," as ratings were "through the roof" (TAMPA BAY TIMES, 3/12). In California, Larry Bohannan wrote Woods "might bring some people to the game for the first time or bring a few people back to the game who haven't played in years," and that "can’t be a bad thing" (Palm Springs DESERT SUN, 3/11). THE RINGER's Kevin Clark wrote, "The Tiger Woods experience this weekend was exactly like the one a decade ago: He took over a random Sunday, kept everyone in front of a TV texting their friends about whether they’d just seen that iron shot in a tournament they were only vaguely aware of before this year." It has been "easy to forget" what Woods "does to a golf tournament" (THERINGER.com, 3/11).

EYES ON THE TIGER: GOLFWEEK's Martin Kaufmann wrote NBC's golf telecasts, which do a "relatively good job of showing a variety of players," will still be "hyperfocused on the first page of the leaderboard" on Sundays. That is "especially true when Woods is in contention and grabbing an inordinate amount of airtime." Kaufmann: "Rory Sabbatini, Webb Simpson, Jason Kokrak and Branden Grace all finished in the top 10, yet I don’t recall seeing any of them hit a shot on Sunday" (GOLFWEEK.com, 3/11).

TWITTER REAXJack Nicklaus tweeted, "Well done @TigerWoods! You're getting there my friend. Sure it won't be long!" K.C.-based KCSP-AM's Bob Fescoe: "No other athlete forces folks to their tv's like Tiger Woods. He's compelling and the most exciting athlete to watch...and everyone has a rooting interest in it. Tigers effect on golf can't be talked about enough." Author Mark Eglinton: "I'd recommend anyone with an interest in Tiger Woods to go back and read both of @HankHaney's and @RobertLusetich's books about him. Both were excellent at the time for different reasons -- both even better now in the context of what's currently happening." Yahoo Sports' Dan Wetzel: "Tiger Woods, No. 1 seed, Augusta Regional." Writer Rick Reilly: "No collar. Less hair. More smiles. Same thirst. Welcome back, Tiger Woods."