After Further Review: Masters ratings may rely on Tiger

Trevin Edelman

It is the first major tournament of the season and the buzz is back. Although outside of the top 100 players, Tiger Woods is planning to play at Augusta National in this year’s Masters. Last year, Woods had undergone a successful microdiscectomy to cure a pinched nerve that had been bothering him. Whether or not he is at the top, or even middle, of his game, just Woods being in the tournament will boost ratings. Woods gives everyone who gets even the slightest joy from watching golf a reason to watch. You know that whatever he does, it will be the story of the week. For fans, they don’t even need to see Tiger in the hunt on Sunday. Fans will watch just to see him play. 

There will always be the fans that will tell you that it doesn’t matter who is playing, it the Masters. This statement is partially true. There will always be the fans of both golf and sport that will tune in. However, the numbers from the 2014 tournament show that it was almost only the diehard fans. 11 million views watched Bubba Watson win by three strokes. This viewership was significantly less than the 14.7 million in 2013 and 13.5 million in 2012. As a matter of fact, the weekend ratings were the worst since 1957. The 1957 tournament was one year before Arnold Palmer won his first Masters.

If anybody is hoping Tiger does well, it is all of the people at CBS. With ESPN showing the first two days, CBS needs Tiger to make the cut so that he will be playing Saturday and Sunday. So now that we have looked at the viewership of the tournament, who has the best chance to win the Masters?

Although Tiger will be the story, he won’t have much of an impact on the outcome of the tournament on Sunday. Instead, there may be some history made as Bubba Watson looks to become only the second player to win the Masters three times in four years. The other two players that will be in contention on Sunday are Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth. For McIlroy, he will have to overcome the demons at Augusta as he only has one top 10 finish there. Rory can do it if he just plays the golf he can play. Spieth, on the other hand, will have to rely on Bubba and Rory having an off tournament, but if they do, Spieth is good enough to win the green jacket in his young career.