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December 07, 2010

Truth & Rumors: Tiger-McDowell showdown boosts TV ratings

Is Tiger Woods back? Golf fans have been arguing this point since watching Woods get out-clutched by Graeme McDowell at the end of the Chevron World Challenge on Sunday. However, there is no question that Tiger is back as the game’s star attraction.

According to the Associated Press, ratings for the Chevron were up 170 percent against last year when Woods was recovering from his Thanksgiving night car accident and did not attend the tournament he hosts.

Tigers Woods can still draw television viewers.

His playoff loss at the Chevron World Challenge drew the tournament's highest preliminary rating for the final round in eight years. U.S. Open champion Graeme McDowell's comeback victory earned a 2.7 overnight rating for Sunday's round. That's up 170 percent from last year.

It's the best since a 3.1 in 2002, when Padraig Harrington beat Woods by two strokes.

Ratings represent the percentage of all homes with televisions tuned into a program. Overnight ratings measure the country's largest markets.

Geoff Shackelford of GeoffShackelford.com points out that this rating is slightly higher than the ratings for this year's British Open and that more importantly the Chevron drew this number against the NFL, the most popular televised sport in the United States. However, Shackelford sees a cloud in the silver lining.

The most unfortunate ramification: it underscores the power of Tiger, likely inspiring the PGA Tour to lean on his star power, without digging a little deeper to improve the "product" for the long term benefit of the tour and the game.

It’s that Furyk, he’s so hot right now

Somebody forgot to tell Jim Furyk that there’s been a generational shift in the game. While fans swoon over Rickie, Rory and Dustin, Furyk keeps collecting honors like Player of the Year, and cashing checks like the $10,000,000 FedEx Cup purse. He’s also landed a new TaylorMade equipment deal, according to Golfweek’s Adam Schupak

His agent, Andrew Whitlieb, confirmed to Golfweek that Furyk will sign a deal to endorse equipment with TaylorMade next season and be featured in the company’s 2011 print and TV advertising campaigns. Furyk’s contract with Srixon expires Dec. 31.

Furyk will be required to use only the TaylorMade driver, which he already has been playing this season, and golf ball. Furyk, the 2010 Player of the Year, didn’t want to make significant changes and will stick with Srixon irons and Callaway wedges.

Stray Shots: Things we heard while wondering how long it will be before Phil Mickelson comes out with his own wine...

Unlike fellow Punahou School grad President Obama, Michelle Wie is not interested in a political career when she retires from golf. (Via GulfNews.com

Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell is on track to become Ulster’s richest athlete ever. (Via The Belfast Telegraph)

This week's Shark Shootout in Naples, Fla., might be the Shark Freeze-out with temperatures in the 30s. (Via The Naples News)

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