“Tiger Woods is golf,” said Jay Rosenstein, a former vice president of programming at CBS Sports. “The concern is that for a sport whose identity is so closely tied to the idea of honor, what he’s gone through has to be incredibly damaging.”
Without Tiger, this year interest in the biggest golf tournament of the year was almost non-existent. The Masters this year was without golf’s main icon, Tiger Woods. Woods had pulled out of the Masters due to back spasms. When Tiger is going into the weekend 5 or more shots behind the leader, ratings average 11 million. When Tiger is within 5 shots, ratings go up 1.2 million viewers.
Ratings were sure to be down after Phil Mickelson, golf’s other big name, missed the cut. This was the first time since 1997 that Mickelson and Woods did not play in the weekend. Just the absence of Tiger alone already caused ticket sales to plummet, and the biggest Masters sponsor almost didn’t buy into the event this year. TV ratings from two other tournaments Woods did not play this year were down 21% and 30%. So, yes indeed, Jay Rosenstein, Tiger Woods IS golf.