TV audiences spike as Tiger Woods fever grips the golfing world

Updated 7:22 AM EDT, Wed August 15, 2018

Story highlights

Big increase in TV audiences at US PGA

Tiger Woods finished second to Brooks Koepka

(CNN) —  

When Tiger Woods plays, people watch.

That’s certainly been the case this year, as television audiences for golf’s major championships have swelled since Woods has returned to the fray, most recently with a second-place finish at the US PGA Championship in Bellerive.

The final-round coverage of the tournament on CBS Sports saw a 73% increase on last year’s event for the same day as Brooks Koepka finished two shots clear of a resurgent Woods.

An average 8.5 million watched in the US – up from 4.9 million when Justin Thomas secured his first major title last year – the highest figure since 2009 when Woods again finished runner-up.

Big crowds gather at Bellerive during Tiger Woods' final round of the US PGA Championship.
Richard Heathcote/Getty Images North America/Getty Images
Big crowds gather at Bellerive during Tiger Woods' final round of the US PGA Championship.

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As the tournament reached its conclusion at 7:00pm ET, viewing numbers peaked at 12.3 million.

While Koepka was winning his second major title of the year, it was the Woods effect that got people watching as the 42-year-old chased a 15th major title and first since 2008.

Woods has recovered from a series of major back surgeries in recent years and shot the lowest final round of his major career on the way to finish just two shots shy of Koepka.

“Tiger Woods wins the 2018 PGA Championship with a score of -14,” tweeted CBS golf writer Kyle Porter. “Brooks Koepka finishes second at -16.”

02:57 - Source: CNN
Brooks Koepka wins 2nd major of 2018

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Woods’ return to major championships has seen a boost to viewing figures throughout the year.

NBC’s final-round coverage of The Open in July, where Woods held the lead before finishing three strokes behind winner Francesco Molinari, was up 38% from last year.

The final-round overnight ratings were the best since 2000 when Woods completed his career grand slam. It was also the most-streamed golf event ever on NBC Sports’ digital platforms.

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At the Masters, meanwhile, there was an 18% increase over the previous year on CBS as Woods starred in his first major since 2015, finishing tied for 32nd.