The annual Masters Tournament at Augusta National is one of the special moments in sports. But it becomes even more special when four-time champion Tiger Woods is golfing in it.
The oft-injured and sometimes-troubled golf superstar is making his first appearance in the tournament since 2015, and it’s led to a big uptick in interest. Woods has four green jackets and finished in the Masters top ten 13 times.
But Woods has battled a bad back and other issues, and even though he’s no longer at the top of his game, his health has improved to the point where, even though he barely made the cut, he is in the tournament and could catch fire.
Adding to the intrigue of the Masters are the resurgence of popular golfters Phil Mickelson and Bubba Watson, and an upsurge in young links talent.
The live telecast of the second round of the Masters on ESPN was up 55 percent over 2017’s total, earning a 2.9 overnight rating, which made it up 55 percent over Friday 2017 and up 27 percent from 2016’s Friday rating.
It was also ESPN’s best rating on Friday since a 3.3 in 2013 and tied for the third-best Friday rating since ESPN began airing the Masters in 2008. The Friday telecast in 2017 earned a 1.8 overnight rating while the 2016 Friday telecast earned a 2.3 overnight rating.
Friday’s telecast, which aired from 3 p.m. until 7:45 p.m., peaked between 6:15-6:30 p.m. with a 3.3 rating, as Tiger Woods was playing the closing holes of his round.
In the top ten metered markets, Greenville, SC came in at 5.4; Ft. Myers, Fla. at 5.1; Orlando and Louisville at 4.8; Tampa/St. Petersburg and Greensboro, Nc at 4.5; Charlotte, NC at 4.2; and Buffalo, Jacksonville and Indianapolis at 3.8.
ESPN’s live coverage ended Friday, as the tournment’s final rounds shift to CBS for the weekend.
This year’s Masters, which garners more betting than any other golf tournament on the PGA tour, is estimated to top $12 million by Vegas books.