I watched the foregone conclusion today. Would I have watched the inevitable at The Buick Invitational if Tiger wasn't blowing away the field and on camera constantly? Perhaps I would, but many of you wouldn't.
"When Tiger Woods enters a tournament and when he is in contention in the final round, we see a 30 to 50 percent increase over what is the 'normal' rating," said Neal Pilson, the head of a sports TV consulting company and former president of CBS Sports. -Golf Today
I have a close friend that's so tired of having to see Tiger line up every putt, take every practice swing, spit, hitch up his pants and everything else imaginable, that he's swears he won't watch any more TV golf if Tiger's in contention. He's a fairly principled guy, so I suspect he's DVRing the Champion's Tour and buying Hooter's Tour highlight VHS tapes on ebay.
The cold hard facts are Woods drives the ratings and the ensuing dollars. The casual golf fan and consumer makes up the bulk of the weekend viewing numbers and they don't give a crap what Cameron Beckman shot or what his swing looks like. The golf junkie will be there regardless, my friend the exception, but the ratings drivers want to see as much of Woods as they can. Also, don't think for a second that the rest of the field isn't appreciative of Woods as well. Thanks to him driving ratings they can finish as an also ran and still collect a six figure check for the week. Gotta make you wonder what those huge "loser" checks do to someone's competitive fire. This week I watched a number of interviews with other pros about what it's like to play with Tiger. It was a smarm fest. I thought they were on his payroll. Although a bit mistimed, you at least have to admire Rory Sabbatini's moxy by refusing to concede to Woods before the first ball was struck.
Be prepared to see a lot of Woods for the next fifteen years or so. He's just entering his prime and I think his best results are yet to come. Plus, the next Tiger contender isn't playing yet. Mickelson, Singh, Scott, and others were all supposed to have the game and character to challenge him. Oh they can occasionally, but not on a regular basis. We may be witnessing an aberration that comes along once every fifty years or so. I hope not. As much as I enjoy watching Wood's talent displayed, I'd enjoy it more with some competition.
Sunday, January 27, 2008
Posted by Average Golfer at 6:47 PM