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The Sport Digest - ISSN: 1558-6448

The “TIGER” effect on P.G.A. Television Coverage


Another major golf tournament has come and gone, one in which Tiger Woods, did not win. In 13 years of competitive golf on the PGA tour, Tiger has won 14 majors, which is impressive. But my question is not with the golfer, but with the golfing coverage. The broadcasting networks (ABC, CBS, ESPN) live and die with tiger. If I were a PGA golfer I would be offended by the amount of coverage given to one man. Case in point, Steve Stricker.

Does anyone know where Stricker finished in the U.S. Open? 23rd at 5 over par, but that is not the story. Here is the story. Stricker, is 5th on the money list, 4th in Cup points, 2nd in top 10’s, 3rd in scoring, 3rd in putts per round, 14th in greens in regulation, 47th in driving accuracy, and 115th in driving distance. (cbssports.com) Who knew? Almost nobody! My question is how do these stats compare to Tiger, and do they warrant the amount of coverage given to one golfer?

  Woods Stricker
Money Earned 2 5
Cup Points 3 4
Top 10’s 1 2
Scoring 1 3
Putts Per Round 45 3
G.I.R. 67 14
Driving Accuracy 79 47
Driving Distance 38 115
Wins in 2009 2 1

From the statistical point of view it could easily be argued that Stricker is “on par” with Tiger. From the first four categories it can be assessed that Tiger has a slight edge, but when the next four categories are factored in, Stricker comes out on top by a significant margin. Even with the lowly rated driving distance by Stricker, he comes out on top. So what if he can’t hit the ball that far, the rest of his game more than compensates for the lack of distance.

This brings me to my original point. How much coverage did we see of Steve Stricker this or any other weekend on the PGA tour? He arguably is having as good if not a better year than Tiger. The only way we see or hear about Stricker or any other PGA golfer, not named Tiger or Phil, is if they are in contention. I think this displays a gross lack of respect for these other PGA professionals. Most of the viewing public may not know who these other golfers are. Who knew of Lucas Glover before the U.S. Open? The only way they will become known is to give them the ink that they deserve. If a player is scoring better than Tiger, he should be noted for that. But all too often we see the leader board and if Tiger is not there, the broadcast network will be sure to let you know how he is doing, either by telling you or showing you his round, as was evident by the coverage of The Master’s final round. And how often do we see Tiger’s score but none of the others who are tied or ahead of him? And better yet why is it that Tiger’s score must almost always be listed as the first score for a grouping?

These are some of the points that I question when it comes to the coverage of Tiger Woods by the media. Again my question is not about the man and his impact on the game, but rather about the coverage of golf in general. I am however not so naïve to realize the drawing power of his name, but does it always have to come down to money, marketing and publicity? Oops I guess it does…


CBSSports.com, Golf. PGA statistics – 2009. Retrieved June 16, 2009 from http://www.cbssports.com/golf/stats