Online sports betting should get a huge boost on the game of golf when Tiger Woods returns for The Masters next month.
Not only is Tiger a huge draw in offshore sports betting; he is a huge draw in TV ratings as well.
Online sports betting numbers have Tiger favored to win The Masters even though it will be his first competitive tournament in almost five months. The attention on The Masters will be huge. CBS president Sean McManus has said that he believes the tournament is going to break all of golf’s records for viewership. Not only is CBS going to benefit, but ESPN should have great ratings since they have the first two rounds. CBS is actually already benefiting as just after news of Wood’s return was announced for The Masters, their stock went up 34 cents.
Woods said in December that he was taking an indefinite break from golf after admitting his infidelity. He has been in therapy but he says he is ready to return. Many people stand to earn a lot of money based on Tiger’s decision to return at The Masters. Augusta National Golf Club only allows three sponsors so AT&T, IBM and Exxon Mobil are going to reap the benefits. Nike is also going to benefit since Tiger wears all of their apparel and uses their equipment.
Going back in history, Wood’s win in the 1997 Masters attracted a record 15.8 million viewers. His win in 2001 was the second highest rated golf event. Woods is so popular that viewing numbers go down a great deal when he is not involved. In fact, when he missed tournaments in 2007 and 2008 the viewership declined almost 50%. Even his competitors realize that golf benefits from Tiger’s return. "We want the best player in the world out playing golf again," Jim Furyk said. "He’s got to do what’s best for him. I realize looking at the big picture it’s good for everyone. What’s good for the best player in the world is probably good for the big picture and the PGA Tour."
ESPN is predicting huge ratings for their coverage as well. ESPN’s executive vice president of programming, John Wildhack said that Tiger’s return “will surely be one of the biggest stories the sporting world has ever seen.”
Online sports betting oddsmakers have already made Tiger the favorite to win The Masters. He is expected to be about 4-1 in offshore sports betting followed by Phil Mickelson at about 6-1.