Tiger brings record TV ratings to Molinari’s Open

The finish was a promoter’s dream.

And while Francesco Molinari won the British Open a fortnight ago, edging away from a packed leaderboard, it was evident the presence of Tiger Woods was the catalyst for the highest viewer ratings for the past 12 years.

Tiger Woods Tiger Woods (Credit: European Tour)

At one stage Woods hit the front during that epic final day and fans around the world rushed to their television sets to witness what was shaping as one of golf’s greatest comebacks.

Other major champions Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy were also jostling for spots at the top, with Woods making his move midway through his round before just as suddenly dropping off the top of the leaderboard.

American sports network NBC and The Golf Channel, which televised this year’s third major championship revealed this year’s Open drew a 5.0 figure.

That was the highest number since the 2006 Open (won by Woods at Royal Liverpool, which also drew a 5.0) and had only been topped once, at the 2000 Open at St. Andrews, where Woods won his first claret jug to complete what was a rare career Grand Slam.

US experts suggested Woods remains one of the biggest named in all sports, matched only by former basketballer Michael Jordan and former boxing great Muhammad Ali.

And when he’s playing well, the viewers and fans gather from everywhere to witness the outcome.

According to NBC Sports, coverage was up 38 per cent from 2017, when Spieth hit one into the driving range and recovered to edge Matt Kuchar at Royal Birkdale.

The numbers in the US were the highest ratings for a non-Masters major since the 2015 PGA Championship.

It should also be noted that even without Tiger in contention, the Masters still sits atop the tree and this year drew a 7.6 – without golf’s biggest attraction (Tiger) in the hunt for the title.