Pitarresi: Tiger's loss nails networks
Tim Clark defeated Tiger Woods in the second round of the Match Play Championship today, and you know the people at the Golf Channel and NBC just hate the little - 5-foot-7, 165 pounds - South African's guts now.
I don’t know what GC’s ratings were for the first two days of the tournament, but I’m guessing, given that this was Tiger’s first action in about eight months, that they were very, very good. They won’t be good the next three days. Not with Tiger out. You have to be a golf fanatic to care who wins now. Erik Matuszewski, writing recently on Bloomberg.com, said that when Nick Watney won the Buick Invitational two weeks ago, final round ratings on CBS dropped 60 percent from last year, when Woods won the tourney for the four straight time. Matuszewski quoted former CBS Sports boss Neal Pilson as saying Tiger’s participation in a tournament usually results in a 30 to 40 percent ratings jump.
So the Golf Channel will take a big hit. So will NBC, which will split coverage with GC Saturday and Sunday, televising the afternoon action.
As we noted the other day, Tiger is the best thing and worst thing to happen to golf. Now, for a weekend, anyway, the worst has happened. Tiger is out of it, and the networks will suffer.