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Woods raises TV ratings for Masters

MCT

Tiger Woods didn't play in the Masters last year, which lead to the lowest television ratings the tournament has had since 1993. Tribune News Service

Ben Boynton

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It has been nine weeks since Woods has played golf competitively. The world’s most popular golfer has only played in two tournaments this year. Part of the problem has been nagging injuries and surgeries, which have plagued Woods in the last few years. In addition to his body betraying him, his game has also hit a rough patch recently. The combination of the two led Woods to declare he was taking time off to work on his game Feb. 11 of this year.

Woods did not play in the Masters last year, which devastated fans and the tournament. The television ratings for last year’s competition were the lowest they had been since 1993 – before Woods’s time. Fellow fan favorite Phil Mickelson failing to make the cut also hurt ratings, as did a final round where champion Bubba Watson was never really challenged in his three-stroke victory. Even if Mickelson had made the cut and the final round had been full of drama, it is likely ratings would still have been low. Such is the star power of Woods.

While he is easily the most popular golfer, Woods has his fair share of detractors. His infidelity scandal and subsequent divorce from wife Elin Nordegren in 2009 and 2010 certainly hurt his stock, and his inability to win a major tournament since 2008 have caused many to question whether he still has greatness in him. The rise of popular challengers such as Rory McIlroy and the success of stars like Mickelson and Watson have thrown Woods’s dominance of his sport into question.

Whether people like Woods or not, his impact on the sport is vital. Without Woods, ratings plummet. While many golf fans may not like the circus that surrounds Woods, the attention he brings to the game is extremely valuable. In an era where the NFL and NBA seem to dominate headlines, golf can use all the help it can get to stay popular and relevant. With Woods returning to play in the biggest tournament there is, golf will be prominent at least for the near future.

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Woods raises TV ratings for Masters