Masters first-round TV ratings fall 25% without Tiger Woods

Written by Agencies | Augusta | Updated: Apr 13 2014, 08:22am hrs
Masters Tournaments first-round television ratings on ESPN fell 25% from the previous year as Tiger Woods missed the golf seasons first major championship after 19 consecutive appearances.

The opening round of the tournament two days ago at Augusta National Golf Club was seen in an average of 1.5% of US homes, the Walt Disney Co network said in a news release, citing preliminary national data provided by Nielsen Media Research. Thats a 25% decline from the 2.0 rating the tournament drew to open its 2013 coverage.

The average audience was two million viewers, a 29% slump from 2013.

Woods, the four-time winner of the Augusta, Georgia, tournament and No 1 player on the Official World Golf Ranking, pulled out of the Masters on April 1 after undergoing surgery for a pinched nerve in his back.

The final round of Woodss first Masters win in 1997 drew more than 20 million viewers on CBS, the last time that many people watched the tournament.

Woods, who missed the Masters for the first time in 20 years because of back surgery, wont be the only guy watching on television. Phil Mickelson made another triple bogeythree shots from the bunkers on the par-3 12th holefor a 73 and missed the cut for the first time since 1997. So did Sergio Garcia, Ernie Els, Luke Donald, Webb Simpson, Dustin Johnson and Jason Dufner.