Tiger Woods’ recent on-the-course woes aren’t just bad news for the oft-maligned golfer himself, they’re also bad news for the sport he used to make his living from.
According to Austin Karp of the Sports Business Journal, Sunday’s final round of the PGA Championship -- which featured a 3-hole playoff between Keegan Bradley and Jason Dufner -- generated a 4.3 overnight rating. As per The Big Lead, that total is noticeably down from 2010’s 5.0 rating and a full 44 percent down from 2009, when Tiger Woods ultimately fell to YE Yang.
Those that did bother to tune in on Sunday were privileged enough to witness Keegan Bradley, the 108th ranked golfer in the world, capture his first major victory in scintillating fashion.
Most sports strive for parity, but ironically enough, the one sport that has it would do just about anything to get rid of it. The notion that unpredictability is captivating is only partially correct. Not knowing who is going to win is fun when you know all of the characters involved and love, hate or love to hate them enough to sit through a few hours of golf. Without Woods, though, that level of intrigue doesn’t appear to exist anymore.
What does this mean, big picture? Well, it means that barring a masterful return to old form by Woods, the sport better get used to these subpar marks. Despite the hype, Rory McIlroy is still young and learning. Phil Mickelson, bless his heart, will always be Phil Mickelson. And the rest of the field, they’re still as irrelevant as they’ve always been.
At one point, Woods was the most derided figure in the sports world. Now, as more and more of these subpar ratings trickle in, people will finally understand the magnitude of his absence and what it means for the future of golf.