Even in defeat, Woods saves the day

While the world hailed South Korean Yang Young-eun for winning the US PGA Championship last week, golf was cheering for Tiger Woods.

Yang may have handed Woods a rare defeat from a winning position but one this is for certain – the golf fans watched because of Tiger.

In an interview with Reuters, PGA of America chief Joe Steranka said Woods, the world number one with 14 major titles, is the person who makes golf tick whether he wins or loses.

He said the world number one’s return to action in March after an eight-month injury lay-off has helped to revive interest in the sport.

The Championship at Hazeltine also saw a boom in galleries, which were 40,000 strong on all four days, and TV audiences compared to last year. Steranka said:

“You can’t quantify Tiger’s impact. It’s just extraordinary to consider all the aspects of the sport of golf, the sports industry and general entertainment that he’s affecting. Look at attendance, television ratings, merchandise sales, the diversity of golf.

“One of the things that I think that is going to last longer than anything is that he changes the perception of golf as a sport played by athletes and now we’re beginning to attract some of the best athletes to golf.”

Steranka believes that it is Woods’ influence that is helping to put golf on the verge of returning to the Olympic fold.

Earlier this month, the International Olympic Committee board recommended golf and rugby sevens to be accepted as Olympic sports from 2016 onwards.

The fact that IOC chief Jacques Rogge talked about Woods as a role model sportsman puts golf in a strong position when the body’s Congress meets later this year to confirm these two sports.

Woods left golf after winning the US Open in June 2008 to undergo surgery on his knee. It was the start of the global recession as well, which also had a major impact on the sport.

But with Tiger’s return, things are starting to look up for golf. His dogged pursuit of Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 major titles is another factor that has fans enraptured.

He failed to win any majors in 2009, although he did win five other tournaments, and golf fans the world over will be looking to see how he bounces back next year.

2 Responses to “Even in defeat, Woods saves the day”

  1. Larry Quah says:

    The sports media must be thanking him for his return as the revenues from TV and other forms of coverage would surely have seen a resurgence!

  2. Ron says:

    Im sure there is no doubt in anyones mind that Tiger brings the most excitement togolf than anyone in the pga.What he has done for this sport I dont think anyone or anything else could have came close.But we have had some exciting moments with other golfers as well when up against Tiger.Look how the open got when Rocco Mediate and tiger went head to head and Tiger won in the playoff with a bad knee.Or how everyone was excited when Phil Michelson were golfing together.That is what we need more of in the sport.More golfers need to step up at the tee and do their best to challange Tiger and each other.This sport needs to stay exciting and full of powerpacked energy down the road.

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