With Tiger Woods preparing to return to golf this week after a 16 month hiatus due to injuries, NBC and Golf Channel couldn’t be happier. The former number one golfer in the world will participate in his own tournament, the Hero World Challenge, as part of an 18-man field. Along with Woods, several big names will be there including U.S. Open champ Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth, Bubba Watson, Henrik Stenson, Olympic champion Justin Rose and others.
The tournament is no-cut so Woods will be guaranteed to play all four days so expect to see Golf Channel/NBC to feature him prominently. Golf Channel will begin coverage this Thursday and Friday at 1:30 p.m. ET and combine with sister network NBC for weekend coverage.
No matter if Woods hasn’t won a tournament since 2013’s Bridgestone Invitiational, his presence still moves the ratings needle, this despite being currently listed 898th in the world golf rankings.
To prepare for his return, Golf Channel’s website has launched a “One Time with Tiger” collection which several currrent or former PGA Tour golfers sharing their time having played with Woods just once in their careers.
And NBC is bringing out some of their heavy hitters to cover the Hero World Challenge including lead announcer Dan Hicks and analyst David Feherty along with Steve Sands, Gary Koch and Mark Rolfing.
While golf won’t beat college football or the NFL on Saturday or Sunday, Woods might give Golf Channel/NBC some better numbers than if he wasn’t playing.
Whether this leads to an extended Tiger comeback or if it’s another false start, the sport would prefer to see him back especially for 2017 in hopes of building golf’s TV ratings near the levels to when Woods was a leading personality.