TV Ratings & The PGA Tour

Good news for my UK Rock Heads: Sky Sports has annouced a new 8-year deal that will bring live, high-definition PGA Tour golf straight to your television sets. Read more on the deal here.

And while I’m glad to see some of the world’s best golfers getting some more exposure, this Caveman wouldn’t be doing his job if I didn’t point out that without a certain red-shirted, swoosh-wearin’ player named Tiger prowlin’ the course, TV ratings for PGA events drop like prices at an outdoor Minnesota driving range in December.

When Tiger’s knee kept him off the course following the 2008 US Open, television viewers kept right on clickin’ past the PGA. Before you Tiger fans and haters get too worked up, take a quick look at the data: during Tiger’s absence, TV ratings of 3rd- & 4th-round PGA tourneys showed a drop of 47% from the previous year when Tiger was healthy.

Maybe that’s because Tiger’s former rivals have, for a variety of reasons, fallen back into the pack and left Tiger as the sole stand-out professional golfer. And while there’s hope on the horizon for a new crop of youngsters to rise up and give him a run, another injury to Tiger Woods would be devistating to the PGA Tour, who continues to seek new sponsors to replace GM and others forced to rein in their spending.

In general, how often do YOU watch the PGA Tour on TV, and how much of a difference does Tiger make in your viewing habits?


BONUS: Tiger’s chip-in on #17 at the 2008 US Open at Torrey Pines

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