ESPN Announce Record Viewing Figures Following Tiger's Return

Thanks to Tiger Woods' return, ESPN saw a 21% increase in viewing figures on Thursday and 31% on Friday

Woods hits an iron shot at 12
(Image credit: Getty Images)

There aren't many that will argue that Tiger Woods is the needle mover in golf. Before he had even arrived at Augusta National, the 15-time Major winner's jet had been spotted on radar, sending Twitter into an absolute frenzy!

That buzz soon reached peak level when, on the Tuesday of the week of the event, Tiger announced his return to competitive action, 14 months after his serious car crash. What followed? Well, a large increase of viewership, with ESPN reporting a 21% increase in ratings for Thursday’s opening round, and a 31% percent rise for Friday’s second round coverage.

Those couple of days were also the most-watched days of golf ever on ESPN+, with more than five million viewers tuning into watching the coverage of the opening two days at The Masters, an increase of more than 1.2 million viewers in 2021.

Patrons watch Woods

Patrons watch the group of Tiger and Jon Rahm on Sunday at The Masters

(Image credit: Getty Images)

The large increase shows that the 'Tiger effect' is in full force, with the 46-year-old still moving the needle in golf's viewership and ratings. This was also the case at the PNC Championship where, appearing alongside his son, Charlie, NBC announced that their tournament average viewing figures for the event where around 2.3 million. For context, the 2021 Open Championship averaged 2.1 million viewers!

As well as Tiger's appearance, it is also worth noting the effort that ESPN has put in to its Masters coverage, with the network devoting a huge number of hours to the 86th edition of the event.

For now, it is unclear as to what the ratings will be over the weekend. However, on Sunday, Tiger will be paired with Jon Rahm, a former World No.1 and Major winner, who, when playing at tournaments, is always one to watch. Consequently, it is likely that those ratings will increase further. This is despite Tiger producing his worst ever round at The Masters on Saturday, with a six-over-par round of 78 putting him down the leaderboard. 

Matt Cradock
Staff Writer

Matt joined Golf Monthly in February 2021 covering weekend news, before also transitioning to equipment and testing. After freelancing for Golf Monthly and The PGA for 18 months, he was offered a full-time position at the company in October 2022 and continues to cover weekend news and social media, as well as help look after Golf Monthly’s many buyers’ guides and equipment reviews.

Taking up the game when he was just seven years of age, Matt made it into his county squad just a year later and continues to play the game at a high standard, with a handicap of around 2-4. To date, his best round came in 2016, where he shot a six-under-par 66 having been seven-under through nine holes. He currently plays at Witney Lakes in Oxfordshire and his favourite player is Rory McIlroy, despite nearly being struck by his second shot at the 17th during the 2015 BMW PGA Championship.

Matt’s current What’s In The Bag?

Driver: Honma TW747, 8.75°

Fairway Wood: TaylorMade Rocketballz Stage 2, 15°, 19°

Hybrid: Adams Super Hybrid, 22°

Irons: Mizuno MP54, 5-PW

Wedges: Cleveland 588 RTX 2.0 Tour Satin, 50°, 56°, 60°

Putter: Cleveland TFI 2135 Satin Cero

Ball: Titleist Pro V1x