The PGA Tour Valspar Championship "smashed its previous attendance record" with Tiger Woods in the field, as 150,000 fans showed up for the week, an increase from 112,000 last year, according to Frances McMorris of the TAMPA BAY BUSINESS JOURNAL. The tourney "should boost tourism and local businesses." TV ratings were "through the roof," as Sunday's coverage on NBC was the highest-rated PGA Tour round (excluding The Masters) since '13. Additionally, this year saw 255 "corporate sponsors; 60 more than last year" (BIZJOURNALS.com, 3/12). Golfer Hunter Mahan said of Woods' return, “It's reinvigorated that golf crowd that may have gone away a little bit, hibernated a little bit when Tiger was going through his struggles. That's exciting for golf and it's going to bring another wave of golf fans into the game.” Golfer Kevin Kisner: “He's the needle, the only one that moves us that exponentially. It's just impressive when you show up to a Tour event, especially one where he's contending, just the buzz that goes around the event and how much bigger everything feels” (“Golf Central,” Golf Channel, 3/12).
EARLY TEE TIME: In Atlanta, Chris Vivlamore notes the Tour Championship at East Lake Golf Club "will move to August" next season. The event "has been held in late September the past 11 years." PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan yesterday said, “We will be announcing our schedule (for next season) probably in the May-June time frame. But we’ve been pretty clear that we are going to try to complete our season by the start of college football and the NFL. We have some more work to do but that’s a goal and we are making some good progress” (ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION, 3/13).