Whatever you made of the controversial ruling that allowed Tiger Woods to keep playing on the weekend, it certainly didn't hurt the TV ratings for the 77th Masters.
According to CBS, an estimated 44.3 million viewers watched all or part of the weekend coverage as Adam Scott emerged from a crowded leaderboard to turn back Angel Cabrera on the second hole of a sudden-death playoff. Woods was within striking distance for most of the weekend and finished tied for fourth place.
The tournament's 44.3 million weekend viewers was up 13 percent from the 39.3 million who watched Bubba Watson beat Louis Oosthuizen, also on the second hole of a playoff, in 2012. The number of viewers was the second-highest in 12 years, behind only the 2010 Masters. In 2010, 46.5 million viewers tuned into the Masters to watch Phil Mickelson win. The 2010 Masters was also Tiger Woods's first tournament after his sex scandals.
Woods would have been disqualified from the tournament for taking an improper drop and signing an incorrect scorecard Friday, but the tournament's rules committee cited mitigating circumstances and he was assessed only a two-stroke penalty.
The soft-spoken Scott's victory played especially well in Australia, as he became the first golfer from that country to win the green jacket after decades of heartache, particularly in the form of the hard-luck former No. 1 Greg Norman, Scott's mentor and former President Cup captain.
The telecast's ratings also may have benefited from Scott's movie star good looks, which make him must-see TV for a certain cross-section of discerning fans who aren't necessarily interested in golf.
(Photo: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)