In 2008, we learned what happens to TV ratings when Tiger’s not around

December 23, 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.

Look 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.)

When he wins, we watch
Average ratings since 1997, Tiger’s first full season as a professional

When Tiger wins: 9.5
When Tiger doesn’t win: 7.4

U.S. Open
When Tiger wins: 6.3
When Tiger doesn’t win: 4.6

British Open
When Tiger wins: 4.7
When Tiger doesn’t win: 3.9

PGA Championship
When Tiger wins: 6.0
When Tiger doesn’t win: 4.5