As expected, Tiger Woods's return to action Wednesday at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship captured a lot of attention.
Woods, taking his first competitive swings since having knee surgery following his U.S. Open victory last June, drew record usage on the Web and to Golf Channel's linear coverage of the event.
The Comcast-owned network's Feb. 25 live afteroon coverage earned a 1.8 household ratings average, while registering 1.69 million viewers, a 50% improvement from the corresponding round in 2008. That ranked second only to the 2.0 rating and 1.87 million viewers Golf recorded for its Feb. 22, 2008 presentation of the tourney's third round a year ago.
The opening round of the 2009 Accenture event also delivered big time for Golf with its demo, averaging 638,000 adults 25 to 54, including 516,00 men of that age. Those were the network's best-ever marks with those groups, according to Golf officials.
Online, GolfChannel.com registered strong traffic: 468,000 visits to the site and 3.3 million page views.
Meanwhile, PGATour.com, the online home of the PGA Tour, said the site had broken a record with Woods's return in which he topped Australia's Brendan Jones 3 and 2, relative to issuing 2.5 million video streams yesterday. PGATour.com showed Woods in action shortly after he had completed the previous hole.
PGATour.com also experienced a traffic surge with more than 1 million unique users, the second largest day ever behind the U.S. Open playoff between Woods and Rocco Mediate (1.5 million) on June 16, 2008. Moreover, the site recorded a 119% rise in page views to just under 24 million, compared with 10.7 million for the opening round of last years Accenture, which Woods ultimately claimed.