Tiger Woods delivered his best performance in years and the Open Championship had some of its best television ratings ever, none of that is a coincidence.
Unlike many of his recent performances, Woods was not only a factor in this weekend’s Open Championship, he led the field for a significant portion of the day on Sunday.
According to the Big Lead’s Michael Shamburger:
The first round of The Open on Thursday, which earned a 0.79 overnight rating, was the most watched in its three years on Golf Channel. It was also the most-watched Thursday ever, and the fifth best total day record for the channel between 2006 and 2018. To make things even more impressive, Golf Channel was the number one rated cable sports network for the day by 9%, and from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Eastern it was the number one cable sports network by 314%.
Friday coverage of the second round was just as impressive, earning a 0.87 overnight rating. The early round coverage was up 4% over 2017, and was up 11% for the day, making it the most-watched weekday broadcast since the 2016 Ryder Cup Friday.
The third round on Saturday earned a 3.0 overnight rating, which was up 25% over 2017. It was the highest third round rating since 2013 when Phil Mickelson won, and the second highest overnight rating in a major in 2018 (the Masters leads that category). TV viewership was up 21% over 2017, and streaming viewership was up 23% over 2017.
And if all that wasn’t enough, the numbers from the final round on Sunday — where Tiger was in contention — are even more striking.
The Open Championship scored the highest ratings they’ve had in 18 years, earning a 5.0 overnight rating. Not coincidentally, as Shamburger notes, those numbers represent “the highest final round overnight rating since Tiger completed the career grand slam in 2000 (which earned a 7.4 overnight rating on ABC). ”
Save for Jason Day’s Masters victory, this weekend’s final round represented the highest-rated final round since 2015.
Whether Tiger can duplicate this weekend’s performance — or actually win a major — remains to be seen. However, there are a lot more people who believe he can still win a major now, than there were at this time last week.
Follow Dylan Gwinn on Twitter @themightygwinn