Tiger’s loss was a big win for TV

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Tiger’s loss was a big win for TV

LOS ANGELES - Tiger Woods’s losing battle to win the Masters golf tournament in his comeback after a months-long sex scandal gave broadcaster CBS its highest ratings for the event in nine years, the network said on Monday.

CBS said the U.S. audience for Saturday’s coverage of the Masters was up 33 percent from last year, while Sunday’s broadcast of the final round was up 36 percent from 2009. But the audience was lower than the 20.3 million viewers who tuned in to watch Woods win his first Masters in 1997, and also below the TV viewership for his second Masters win in 2001.

The network said its final-round coverage was the third-highest rated final round of any golf tournament since 1986.

Woods, the world’s No. 1 golfer, returned to the sport after a riveting sex scandal forced him to take a break, during which he underwent treatment. But he failed to win a fifth Masters, played each year at the Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia, finishing in a tie for fourth place on Sunday, five shots behind winner Phil Mickelson.

Spurred by sordid revelations of Woods’s multiple affairs behind his wife, Elin’s, back, viewers also turned out in droves on Thursday and Friday to give cable network ESPN the highest U.S. audience ever for a golf event on cable TV.

ESPN said an average 4.4 million viewers watched its coverage on Thursday and Friday, up 29 percent from 2009. In addition, the Masters on ESPN.com led to 88 percent more page views and 98 percent more visits to the Web site than last year, the Walt Disney Company-owned cable TV sports network said on Monday.

Woods, 34, had remained in the hunt for a 15th major title until the end but said afterward he was disappointed with his performance.

“I entered this event and I only enter events to win and I didn’t get it done,” he told reporters.

“I’m going to take a little time off and kind of re-evaluate things.”

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