Tiger Woods will get bums on seats and eyes on the television when the first instalment of the TGL begins in January.
Both he and Rory McIlroy have had to refute numerous claims that their co-owned virtual golf league tour as such is just a spin off of LIV Golf and has only been invented to keep PGA Tour players from defecting to the Saudi backed tour now that they can make their own quick buck. If Tiger plays, they will stay.
Despite his fleeting appearances on the PGA Tour – no competitive golf shot since withdrawing from the Masters in April – Woods is still the biggest asset to golf. Frankly, if he sneezes and it can be put on social media golf twitter goes into a frenzy.
Think of it like this. While Woods has battled serious injury and health issues over the last few years, any video of him walking or even just chipping is enough to have all the American journalists foaming at the mouth and making theses audacious claims that his swing looks better than ever. Heck, it’s been enough for him to win the PIP…
Tiger still has aspirations of playing competitively on the PGA Tour in the future but this will most likely be limited to major championships and there is the argument that with LIV diluting many PGA Tour fields and the presence of McIlroy, Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm, Viktor Hovland, Jordan Spieth and others that Woods only needs to really be the icing on the cake at major championships.
However, what TGL provides is the opportunity for Woods to be part of the golfing landscape full time for at least another decade depending on how this virtual experiment plays out.
But TGL will work. When it comes to golf this is still Tiger Woods’ world and we are all living in it. He is still the most famous athlete in the world and is still by far the biggest draw the PGA Tour has.
The number one draw for anybody to tune into the TGL is to see what Tiger is doing. That’s enough to bloat viewing figures. Even non golfers will tune in or watch social media clips of him just to look at him.
Other than his relationship with his son Charlie, which is only to do with golf as far as the public can get a hold of, Tiger lives a very quiet life and the TGL will see him return to the public domain. If Tiger was playing in a mundane PGA Tour event in January, viewing figures would sky rocket so the fact he is going to be playing in a new golfing experience with a host of top class players will help TGL become a success.
The PGA Tour averages around the 2 million mark in viewership. Last year’s PNC Championship where Tiger played with Charlie saw 2.24 million people tune in for the final round and give the broadcast a 1.3 rating which was the second highest rated and most watched telecast for the PNC since 2012.
LIV Golf has taken several world class players and some fascinating characters from the PGA Tour over the last two seasons but the audience figures both on site and on television have been shocking and TGL will blow its apparent rival enterprise out of the water once it begins.
LIV Golf has tried to change the golfing landscape but without Tiger they are severely hamstrung especially now that the PGA Tour have a way to roll him out on a regular basis.
The way sport is going now is that people tune in or attend just to see one player.
The Saudi Pro League paints an unrealistic picture of how football is going in that country. There’s a reason why Al Nassr play in front of packed houses every week and Al Ettifaq play in front of a measly 900 fans despite being managed by Steven Gerrard. People want to see Cristiano Ronaldo. If Ronaldo or Tiger took up fishing, the viewing figures would be seismic because of who they are.
David Beckham’s Inter Miami side were bottom of the MLS and unable to come close to filling the bold pink seats in their stadium until a certain Lionel Messi showed up this season. Similarly to how Becks himself was the star attraction for the whole league not just LA Galaxy in 2007.
People are tuning in to see Messi and Ronaldo play football. How many times do you see Sky Sports News or some social media platform parade goals from the pair in Saudi Arabia and the United States but don’t give highlights for the other games in the league? They may well be out of the limelight as far as the European landscape goes but they are still the two biggest pulling powers in football.
Tiger Woods may be out of the limelight when it comes to competing on the PGA Tour but he is still the biggest pulling power in golf and this is why the TGL will be a success.