The Masters' final round in 2004 and 2005 both featured incredible, see-saw golf with last-minute lead changes and riveting shots, including a birdie by one of the top players to win the tournament on the last hole.
The difference: Tiger Woods.
In Wood's dramatic victory Sunday (April 10), CBS averaged a 10.3/21, its highest average since it went to 18-hole coverage in 2002 and up 41% over 2004, when Phil Mickelson completed a stunning and comeback against Ernie Els.
The overnight Nielsen rating peaked in prime time, with a 15.5/27 at 7:15-7:45.
A veritable marketing machine, Tiger picked just the right time to return to form, at least from an ad-dollar standpoint of sponsors IBM, ExxonMobil and SBC.
For the first time since 2003, CBS and USA were able to sell ad time in the show, though only four minutes per hour as is Augusta's policy.
The telecasts had been commercial-free since 2003, when Augusta released ts three major corporate sponsors—Citigroup Inc., The Coca-Cola Co. and IBM Corp.—from their ad commitments to relieve them from pressure put on them by the National Organization of Women, which wants the all-male-membership club to start admitting women.