For a fleeting nano-second the thought occurred to me that that grizzled airhead – Tim Geary – might actually win a debate on whether televised golf is focused exclusively on Tiger Woods. The thought scared me until realizing even a third-grader could put together a logical, fact-based argument better than Gullible Geary!
Before listening to the Gullible One’s fist-bumping and chest-thumping blabber on this topic, only a contrarian fool would argue Tiger doesn’t get enough air time. So I’ll take a pass and let Geary enjoy his first victory in four years. His record now stands an unimpressive 1 for 47!
Tuning in to the final round of the Deutsche Bank Championship on NBC on Labor Day I knew this debate was over before it started. Louis Oosthuizen held a three-stroke lead over Rory McIlroy with Dustin Johnson and Tiger Woods six shots back. In Johnny Miller’s two-minute opening comments, he used Tiger Woods’ name a whopping 11 times. It was a preview of how Woods would dominate the TV coverage even though he never got within three of the leader. Woods blitzed the front nine in 4-under and NBC showed all 31 shots. He ended the day at 5-under 66, to finish third. Care to guess how many of those shots NBC televised? Would you believe 60?
In comparison, his playing partner Dustin Johnson shot 70 and had very little air time while finishing tied for fourth with Phil Mickelson. Phil tied for low round of the day with 66 and also had limited TV exposure, mostly due to McIlroy and Oosthuizen’s dramatic battle throughout the day.
Watching Tiger Woods play golf live on TV over the past dozen years draws huge interest from golf fans, casual fans and non-golfers. When Woods competes on any given Sunday afternoon two things are certain: He will wear his trademark red shirt and people will watch causing TV ratings to soar.
The fact is undisputed that Tiger Woods is an unprecedented marketing money-machine making TV sponsors happy, as well as his stable of corporate sponsors like Nike Golf, Rolex, Net Jets and EA Sports. Over Labor Day weekend he earned $544,000 to push his career earnings to more than $100 million. Woods is the first $100 million man on the PGA Tour, more than $30 million ahead of Phil Mickelson with $66 million.
Folks, here’s some unsolicited advice. Put a set of golf clubs in your kids’ hands. It’s the game of a lifetime, where time and money invested in an early age can return huge dividends. Through Labor Day, Woods has won three tournaments this year tallying 74 in his career, second behind career leader Sam Snead with 82. He has cashed 38 checks with a first prize over $1 million.
The top 100 players teed up at the Deutsche Bank Championship in pursuit of the FedEx Cup offering an $8 million purse. Woods came out smoking in round one, shooting 7-under 64, and then followed that up with two 68’s.
This year’s Deutsche Bank Championship was the highest-rated and most- watched early rounds on cable ever. Round two viewership was up 84% over round two from 2010, the last time Woods played in the event. The Golf Channel and NBC reported a 67% increase in viewers from 2011.
Even a third grader can figure out this is not a coincidence. Tiger Woods’ popularity is back in full throttle and fans want to watch him more than ever. Even when he is not winning, he is dominating the telecast and that will not change anytime soon.
Tom Gorman loves to watch live golf on TV and is scheduled to audition as a guest in an upcoming TV show called America’s Got No Talent!WHAT'S YOUR REACTION?