We all know that Tiger Woods’ absence will negatively impact the PGA Tour but few have actually taken a step back to examine exactly why his absence will have such a huge impact on the Tour.There has been a seemingly endless amount of talk about how much the PGA Tour is going to suffer in Tiger Woods’ absence.
If you have even remotely followed sports over the past decade it is enormously obvious that Tiger Woods is the cornerstone of the PGA Tour and his absence from the tour will present the game with huge challenge, to say the least.
We all know how important Woods is to the PGA Tour and to the game of golf but few have taken a step back to view exactly how the PGA Tour has gotten itself into a position of such reliance on Woods to uphold and grow the popularity of the game.
The PGA Tour will suffer in Woods absence; that is for certain.
Here are three reasons why the PGA Tour will suffer tremendously in Woods absence.
1) There are more `Tiger Woods Fans’ than golf fans
According to research done on Woods’ effect on television ratings in 2007, tournaments in which he finished in the top five had a 171% increase in CBS’ ratings over those in which he did not play or wasn’t in contention.
Furthermore, according to Nielsen Media Research, the viewer ratings for the final round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational, which Tiger won by sinking a dramatic birdie putt on the 18th, represented a 68% increase last year’s ratings when Woods was not on the leader board.
Woods clearly has a mammoth impact on television ratings. This is largely due to the fact that there are millions of people out there who are not all that interested in the game of golf but that are interested in Tiger Woods.
As has been the case in the past, the `Tiger Woods fans’ will not tune in to watch golf if Woods is not in the tournament.
The `Tiger Woods Fans’ have essentially been lost for the remainder of the season.
2) The PGA Tour has put Tiger Woods at the absolute center of everything they do.
There is absolutely no marketing or advertising done by the PGA Tour that does not almost solely involve Woods.
You will be hard pressed to see a television or print advertisement for the PGA Tour where Tiger Woods is not taking up 90% of the time or space.
Now lets not be naive, Tiger Woods is the main attraction of the PGA Tour. TV ratings and viewership suggest that he is even more of an attraction than the PGA Tour itself.
So, it is no wonder why the PGA has jumped on Woods back and let him carry them for the past decade.
But, in doing so, they have put all of their eggs in one basket and have become almost solely reliant on Tiger Woods to attract attention, attendance, viewership and sponsors to the tour.
By not branching out from Woods’ shoulders and diversifying their marketing and advertising of the tour and better promoting the up and coming young stars, the Tour now finds itself in a desperate position for the rest of the season and they are clearly unsure of how to handle it.
That does not bode well for the inevitable day when Woods retires.
3) No one offers fans the theater that Woods does.
Sure, there are many great young players out there on tour right now. Adam Scott, Justin Rose, Geoff Ogilvy and Anthony Kim are amongst the first the come to mind.
Although outstanding young golfers, none of them come close to offering the excitement and animation that Woods seems to provide every week he plays.
No other player is as animated as Woods is on the course and no other player consistently makes the seemingly impossible shots in the most desperate situations.
Woods seems to hit every important shot imaginable, which provides a large part of the excitement, but the excitement Woods provides is not only through his amazing golf shots, it is through the deafening roar of his massive gallery along with Woods’ fist pumps, hat throwing and other theatrical celebrations.
That kind of excitement is not prevalent in anyone else on the PGA Tour and that excitement is what draws a lot of people to the game today.
Real golf fans will continue to follow golf just as much as they did before Tiger Woods hung it up for the season.
Woods has opened up the game of golf to a wider audience than the game has ever previously experienced, which is of course a good thing, but, a large number of people who tune into to watch golf or attend PGA Tour events do so because they are fans of Tiger Woods and want to get a glimpse of the most popular athlete on the planet and not because they are fans of the game.
That is the main underlying reason why the tour will greatly suffer in Woods absence.