21 August 2009

    Even when Tiger loses, golf wins

    So Tiger lost the USPGA and is still on 14 majors. The press want him to catch Jack so they can unequivocally state he's the greatest of all time. Most of the fans want it too, we love to see someone with such talent fulfilling their destiny.

    But win or lose, Tiger is the news in golf. Knee injury? Cue bizarre articles: "inside Tiger's injury"; "will Tiger be the same on his return?". But now he's back and that's all that matters for the TV ratings. Missing the cut at the British will have been a big disappointment - though Tom Watson saved the day and made the job a lot easier for the headline-writers.

    Take the following extract from PGA CEO Joe Steranka:

    "You can't quantify Tiger's impact," Steranka told Reuters in an interview during Sunday's final round at Hazeltine National in Chaska, Minnesota.

    "It's just extraordinary to consider all the aspects of the sport of golf, the sports industry and general entertainment that he's affecting."

    TV ratings were up 150% over last year's tournament - a direct result of Tiger being back. Last year's championship saw two Europeans (Harrington and Garcia) fight out a brilliant finale. This year saw the biggest thing in golf and an unknown underdog fight it out. In reality, figures should have been similar. But you're not thinking Tiger-logic.

    "Looking at the galleries you wouldn't know there's any economic downturn," said Steranka, reflecting on crowds of about 40,000 a day at Hazeltine. Our attendance is way up over last year."

    He added, however: "We were in Detroit (in 2008) at the start of the recession, Tiger was not playing because of injury, so everything is up considerably over last year."

    Make no mistake - Tiger is golf right now. He's effectively bailing the other guys out of this recession - the rain he makes doesn't just get him wet, it trickles all the way down.

    Source: Reuters

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