No, Tiger Woods is not back, but the intrigue and excitement he generates certainly is. In recent years, a golf tournament that sees Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy miss the cut could pose a concern for the network’s weekend ratings, but with Tiger in the fold, NBC’s coverage of the Valspar set records.
The 3.26 overnight rating for Saturday’s third round of the Valspar Championship on NBC Sports was the highest-rated non-Masters round 3 since 2006 and an incredible 181% jump from last year’s Valspar Saturday coverage.
Sunday’s final round, which saw Tiger finish second to Paul Casey earned a 5.11 overnight rating, golf’s highest non-major broadcast on any network in nearly five years, trailing only Tiger’s 2013 Players Championship victory which garnered a 5.7 rating. The 5.11 overnight rating was a 190% increase from last year’s final round of the Valspar.
NBC also earned a higher rating Sunday than any golf event, aside from the Masters, since the 2015 PGA Championship which did a 5.14. To compare, the final round rating of the 2017 Masters was a 7.6, U.S. Open 3.6, The Open 3.2 and PGA Championship 3.6, Sunday’s Valspar 5.11.
Additionally, the Valspar was the most streamed PGA Tour event ever for NBC with 15.4 million minutes streamed for the final round alone, 27.2 million minutes for the full event across NBC and Golf channel digital platforms.
Tiger Woods will never return to the consistent dominance he once held on the golf course, but he’s proven to still dominate in terms of receiving attention. Last year, PGA TV ratings began to garner some concern, but interest in golf will be just fine so long as Tiger’s back holds up. With The Masters around the corner, CBS has to be ecstatic to have a healthy Tiger Woods for the first time in three years.