Confirmed: Tiger Woods is still a draw after Golf Channel ratings bump

Tiger Woods

Tiger Woods brought an almost inevitable bump to ratings for both NBC and its Golf Channel after a lacklustre fall season showing.

More than a million viewers in the United States alone tuned in to watch Tiger Woods make his PGA Tour comeback after surgery.

The Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas drew numbers that show that Woods’ influence on the game has barely waned at all.

Woods’ performance was also good enough to suggest that he could be a feature of the 2024 season with his one tournament-a-month commitment.

Josh Carpenter of Sports Business Journal reports that Woods’ return to NBC, Golf Channel, and Peacock brought in an average of 617,000 viewers for the week, which is a 53 percent increase over the network’s 2022 coverage of the same tournament in which Woods made an appearance as host but did not participate.

During Golf Channel’s early-week coverage of the event, Tiger’s play produced notable increases, bringing the network’s average viewership over the two days to 493,500, almost double its 2022 viewership. On the weekend, the increases were less significant: 1.03 million average viewers on Saturday, up 57% from the previous year, and 884,000 average viewers on Sunday, up 31% from the previous year.

Saturday’s 1.03 million average viewer affair was the most-watched Saturday round at the Hero World Challenge since Tiger’s 2019 comeback at the event.

The PGA Tour’s signature events model looks set to dovetail with Tiger Wood’s reduced schedule with these marquee tournaments holding greater importance than the bulk of the Tour.

Next up for Tiger Woods is likely an appearance alongside son Charlie at the father and son Challenge at the PNC Championship in mid-December.

That event might go a way to showing whether or not Woods will be able to draw eyes to events that have otherwise gone largely unnoticed.

Woods isn’t returning to golf to do the PGA Tour favours and certainly doesn’t lack for projects away from the professional game with his course design company announcing a new client in the Marcella Club in Park City, Utah who has commissioned them to build an 18-hole ‘Championship course’.

He is confident of improving his game even if he has doubts about playing at his best Major-winning level.

“I think that I can get into the rhythm of it,” Woods said.

“I think that having a couple of weeks off to recover, a week to build up, there’s no reason why I can’t get into that rhythm. It’s just a matter of getting in better shape. I feel like my game’s not that far off, but I need to get in better shape.

“To be able to knock off some of the rust as I have this week and showed myself that I can recover each and every day, that was kind of an unknown as far as I’ve walked this far,” Woods said.

“I’ve done all my training, but add in playing and concentration and adrenaline and all those other factors that speed up everything. I’m very excited about how the week’s turned out.

“There’s a lot of things I can’t do that I used to be able to do with a golf ball,” Woods added.

“I used to be able to call upon any shape, any shot whenever you wanted and was able to contort myself to those shots. I can’t do that anymore. I’ve always been one that has been able to hit the ball in the middle of the face, so that’s been good. I’m hitting the ball further than I did when I first came out on tour. I’m slower, but [with technology] I’m still able to hit the ball in the middle of the face, so there’s always an advantage to do that.”