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The Masters

Over this past week, The Masters golf tournament was held in Augusta, Georgia.  This year was especially special though.  Even though you might not be into golf, it was the comeback of Tiger Woods.  It was his first tournament after a 144-day hiatus due to the “accident” and “transgressions” that were made public.  The other reason was that it was the first sporting event to be telecast in the 3D.

Tiger Woods is a ratings magnet.  Both ESPN and CBS cashed in this week.  Not only was Tdub in the mix but also his fellow US golfer Phil Mickelson.  Both are fan favorites and if you like one, you probably don’t like the other.  Tiger’s story was great in that he was for one time, an underdog.  He was the one that had his dirty laundry aired for the entire world to see and hear about.  If he had won it would’ve been, in my opinion, the greatest win ever.  Better than his 2001 season when he won all four majors.  To overcome the insurmountable odds and triumph would’ve won back fans in a heartbeat.  I was and remain a huge Tiger fan.  Most of the public, I believe, feels the same way.  While some might vilify him for his adultery, the ratings don’t lie.  ESPN and CBS ratings were through the roof.  People want to see him both fail and succeed.  Never have I had so many non-golfers ask me about Tiger and how he might do.  He played terrible and finished fourth, three shots off the winner.  In my book, he outplayed Mickelson (the winner) if you take into account everything that has happened.

TV ratings for golf have been in the tank all year and this just proves the case study that Tiger is a money maker for the networks when he plays.  The Masters scored the same in the Nielsen as it did as the entire 2010 season so far.  That’s about ten tournaments combining for less than one week.  It is simply amazing.  What is even more amazing is that people hate Tiger even more for what he did to his wife.  Yet these very same people are enormous hypocrites because they watch to root against him.  The key word there is “watch”.   So the networks got both the Tiger loyalists as well as the Tiger haters!  It doesn’t matter to ESPN or CBS, they just wanted eyeballs glued to the television set.

The Masters tournament is both powerful and elitist.  They provided 56 of 60 minutes of each hour of coverage.  They have the financial resources to do so because of their membership and sponsors.  Some might not know this but their membership is basically the most powerful Fortune 500 companies’ leaders.  They also provided 3D coverage of the tournament.  I didn’t see it in 3D because, obviously I don’t have a 3D television.  The commentators were raving about it saying how it brought out the contours of the greens and shown more depth.  I mean, it’s not like they’re gonna say that it sucks.

The Masters, for any true golfer or golf fan, is the greatest tournament of the year.  The world stood still when Tiger had his press conference and it stood still when he teed off on the first hole last Thursday.  If I were a network executive, I would try and get in with Tiger.  While some might think that Tiger plays on the PGA Tour, he in fact runs it.  The crowds, the ratings, they all point to the same trends.  He is a huge, huge moneymaker.  If he doesn’t play in a tournament, there’s no one there.  He is more than a golfer, he is an icon and the GOAT (greatest of all time).

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