Monday, December 22, 2008

When Tiger Woods called it quits halfway through 2008, television executives blanched. Woods is the Oprah of golf. When he plays, ratings are big; when he wins, they're huge; and when he's absent, well, you're probably watching something else.

\nLook no further than the Tiger-less 2008 British Open and PGA Championship. The British had its smallest audience in 17 years and the PGA was the least-watched major in the 36 years that Nielsen has tracked ratings. Here's a look at the ratings for each of the 48 majors since 1997, Woods' first full season as a professional. (Rating points represent the percentage of U.S. households that tuned in.)

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\nWhen he wins, we watch
Average ratings since 1997, Tiger's first full season as a professional

\nMasters
When Tiger wins: 9.5
When Tiger doesn't win: 7.4

\nU.S. Open
When Tiger wins: 6.3
When Tiger doesn't win: 4.6

\nBritish Open
When Tiger wins: 4.7
When Tiger doesn't win: 3.9

\nPGA Championship
When Tiger wins: 6.0
When Tiger doesn't win: 4.5

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HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN