“I’m so pumped,” Keegan Bradley said, “It’s great news for golf and great news for the Tour. A no-Tiger Tour is not the same. … We need Tiger. The whole Tour needs Tiger and golf needs Tiger.”
So, it’s official – Tiger Woods is back! This weekend, he hosts the Quicken Loans Classic at the Congressional Country Club in D.C. Now some of you might roll your eyes and groan, but hear me out! Tiger being back is the best thing for us golf lovers! Why? Because his return creates automatic buzz on the Tour, something that’s been missing for MONTHS. He doesn’t even need to be good this weekend; he just needs to be there.
Even the other PGA Tour players are happy about it! Rory McIlroy said during the U.S. Open, “He has been the face of golf for the last 15, 20 years, and golf is a better sport and a better place with Tiger Woods in it.” And he’s right. Without Tiger, the sport wouldn’t get the sponsors or the coverage it does now. In many ways, Tiger made the sport well known to those who didn’t grow up golfing.
Check these stats out – One way to tell Tiger’s impact? Television ratings. According to USA Today’s The Big Lead, ratings from Masters Sunday were 7.8—the lowest ratings ever for a non-Easter Sunday Masters finale. And the ratings for the U.S. Open were even worse. According to a report on AwfulAnnouncing.com, the ratings were a lowly 3.3. The take-away? Many people only watch golf when Tiger is playing.
Tiger being back is great for a season that’s seen lots of wins by newbies – great for them, but not for casual fans. And if we want golf to grow, it will need to continue to be visible. We need non-soccer-loving America to choose to watch golf over the World Cup. And for that, we need Tiger.
Check these links out for more info about Tiger’s return:
The Bleacher Report’s analysis of his Thursday play
This great primer on the Congressional Country Club
A Quicken Loan National Preview from the No Laying Up blog