Golf again faces uncertainty without its talisman

Published 24/02/2010 10:29:05

It's doom and gloom again for golf without its transgressional talisman Tiger Woods. We've been here before of course, 2008's knee injury meant golf was out in the cold in terms of TV ratings and revenues. Tiger is big news and every tournament he attends brings with it a large casual crowd who want no more than to see the big man dominate and break records.


The evidence is irrefutable: Tiger can triple TV ratings when he shows up. Indeed in 2008 when Tiger suffered his knee injury, tournaments for the rest of the season trailed off in terms of TV ratings by 50% according to Nielsen.


"Golf does better economically when Tiger is a major force on the PGA tour," says CBS sports president Sean McManus, "but golf is still a valuable product for us." 

"We're all looking forward to him coming back, but until then, we're doing perfectly fine," McManus added.


It's true that golf has a hardcore following that are as excited by Poulter's slacks and Daly's knickers are they are by Tiger chasing down Nicklaus' record. These guys are the core market that appeal to brands like Callaway and Titlieist. Big Berthas were big news to golf-nuts before Tiger had even started shaving.


So maybe it isn't all bad news for the sport - it'll have to survive without Tiger for a long time when he retires, and who knows if he'll be the same player when he comes back? Maybe a bit of healthy rivalry between some of the young guns on the tour will capture the excitement of the 70s when Nicklaus and Palmer went head-to-head, brushing most players aside.


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