This year’s Masters tournament marked Tiger Woods’ first return to the major championships in three years. Although the primary aim was pursuit of his fifth Green Jacket and 15th major title, the fresh round of excitement and buzz brought about by the iconic golfer’s return has sent the sporting world into a frenzy, generating huge brand exposure in the process. Sports Marketing Agency Nielson Sports quantified “the Tiger Effect” in its release of new industry data of golf’s man to watch.

Nielson Sports highlighted the bump in airtime for Woods and his sponsors during the PGA Tour where he received a staggering 583 minutes of branding exposure which accounted for nearly double the amount of time on screen compared to 320 minutes of other top 10 golfers. Teamed with the fact that the Masters is a “clean course”, this amounted to a lucrative win for the brands representing Woods on his clothing and equipment.

Woods’ comeback clearly still packs a powerful punch evidenced by the two million increase in television viewership over the four Golfing events this season where Woods ranked within the top 25. This equated to an impressive increase of 93% more fans and viewers tuning in compared to the same events last year.

Furthermore on the social media front there have been 3.5 million posts on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter that mention Tiger Woods from 1 January to 30 March 2018. Interestingly, 71 per cent of Tweets mentioned Woods during the Valspar Championship, with just five per cent mentioning winner Paul Casey all in all.

Fans hoping to catch a glimpse of the former glory days of Woods are not afraid to pay out for the privilege either.  Ticket prices rose rapidly as the entry cost for the Masters final topped $2000, according to reseller website Vivid Seats, captioning this year’s Masters as the third most expensive American sporting event of the year.

Cynics may quickly dismiss the comeback as a false alarm as fans have had their hopes raised before with Woods’ previous comeback at the Hero World Challenge (see our article coverage here). But industry backing in the form of a new, high-value endorsement deal with the release of Bridgestone Golf’s “Tiger Woods edition” golf ball, show sponsors are clearly unperturbed and buying back into “the Tiger effect”.  The leading golf equipment manufacturer’s CEO Angel Ilagan reported a surge in sales by 30% since the launch and sold out of the balls within ten days following the hyped release.

It may have been five years since a PGA Tour win and 13 years since a Masters win for Woods, but perhaps the star’s lifelong ambition of surpassing Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 major championship wins is still yet to come.