You know, you just know, that the people at NBC were secretly rooting their hearts out for Tiger Woods to pull through Friday. Just like the Weather Channel folks must secretly root, just a little bit, for that hurricane to stick around just a little while longer, threatening off the coast.
With so many top seeds exiting early from the Accenture Match Play Golf Championship, Tiger Woods was likely the only thing standing between NBC and ho-hum ratings for its weekend coverage.
With Phil Mickelson and Colin Montgomerie and Vijay Singh and Jim Furyk and other big names out of the competition, it is impossible to overestimate the importance of Tiger Woods to the tournament. Actually, even with the rest of them still around, it is impossible to overestimate his importance to golf's TV ratings.
For this tournament, it was the difference between watching Woods go for an eigthstraight PGA win against fill-in-th-blank and watching Nick O'Hearn go at it against Justin Rose or some other talented golfer with little rooting interest for anyone beyond the subscribers to Golf Digest.
I would argue that NBC had a fiduciuary duty to root for Woods. Alas, Woods, too, was knocked out of the tournament–by O'hearn after two extra holes.
Oh, well, there is always college basketball.
By John Eggerton