Masters First-Round TV Ratings Fell 25 Percent Without Woods

Masters Tournament first-round television ratings on ESPN fell 25 percent from the previous year as Tiger Woods missed the golf season’s first major championship after 19 consecutive appearances.

The opening round of the tournament two days ago at Augusta National Golf Club was seen in an average of 1.5 percent of U.S. homes, the Walt Disney Co. network said in a news release, citing preliminary national data provided by Nielsen Media Research. That’s a 25 percent decline from the 2.0 rating the tournament drew to open its 2013 coverage.

The average audience was 2 million viewers, a 29 percent slump from 2013.

Woods, the four-time winner of the Augusta, Georgia, tournament and No. 1 player on the Official World Golf Ranking, pulled out of the Masters on April 1 after undergoing surgery for a pinched nerve in his back.

The final round of Woods’s first Masters win in 1997 drew more than 20 million viewers on CBS, the last time that many people watched the tournament.

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