The numbers are in, and the numbers don’t lie: The Tiger Woods Effect is very, very real.
The final round of the British Open posted an overnight rating of 5.0. That number ties Woods’ 2006 win at Royal Liverpool for the highest British Open final round rating since Woods completed his career Grand Slam at St. Andrews in 2000.
VIEWERSHIP: @NBCSports Ties Best Final Round Overnight Rating in 18 Years at @TheOpen – Dates Back to @TigerWoods' Career Grand Slam Win in 2000 at the Old Course and Ties His Win in 2006 at Royal Liverpool. @RandA @GolfChannel @carnoustiegolf pic.twitter.com/Gxp0l78FNx
— Golf Channel PR (@GolfChannelPR) July 23, 2018
Woods finished tied for sixth
Even though Woods faded after briefly grabbing the solo lead — and Francesco Molinari surged to his first Major victory — the fact that Woods was even in contention was a major win for NBC and for fans across the globe. This was Woods’ first top-10 at a major since he tied for sixth at the 2013 British Open.
Not only did this British Open do well compared to past iterations of the tournament — viewership was up 38 percent from last year — it also did well compared to the other majors. Excluding Masters coverage, which always blows the other three majors away, this was the highest-rated final round since the 2015 PGA Championship. It was also the most-streamed golf event ever for NBC Sports digital platforms.
Of course, it also didn’t hurt that it was a mostly thrilling final round overall. Big names such as Woods, Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy and Justin Rose headlined the first page of leaderboard throughout the day. Even though Molinari ended up winning by two shots, eight players finished within three strokes of him.
Woods continues to help golf ratings
The fact that Woods, 42, appears to be healthy and playing good golf again is a huge win for the sport in general. The Open Championship proved once again that Woods drives ratings and amps up general excitement, as Jay Busbee wrote Sunday.
A quick sample from this year alone:
The Farmers Insurance Open in January, where Woods finished T23, saw increases of 53 percent and 38 percent on its Saturday and Sunday numbers, with Sunday bringing the tournament’s highest ratings in five years.
The Valspar Championship in March, where Woods finished in a tie for second, was the highest-rated non-Masters event since the 2014 PGA Championship – higher than any U.S. Open or British Open in the Spieth/JT/DJ Era – and the highest for a non-major PGA Tour event since the 2013 Players (which Woods won).
The Arnold Palmer Championship, also in March, saw a bounce of 136 percent on Sunday over the Tiger-less tournament in 2017. Woods finished in a tie for fifth place.
Woods has the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and the PGA Championship up next
With his impressive weekend at Carnoustie, Woods moved all the way up to 50th in the world. That means he qualifies for the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational, which starts August 2. Considering he started the year ranked 656th in the world, qualifying for the invitational is a big achievement. Woods has won the event at Firestone Country Club eight times.
Assuming he’s healthy, Woods will also compete at the year’s final major, the PGA Championship, at Bellerive Country Club the following week.
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