PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan believes the return of a fully-fit Tiger Woods has had a “tremendous and significant” impact both on and off the golf course.
Woods will bring the curtain down on a largely successful comeback this week when he tees off in the season-ending Tour Championship at East Lake in suburban Atlanta.
It is the first time that Woods has qualified for the elite 30-strong event since a 22nd place finish in 2013.
While Woods has yet to taste a tournament victory this year, Monahan said the former world number one had nevertheless had a huge impact, boosting television ratings and indirectly raising the profile of other players on tour.
“To have a fully-fit Tiger Woods back on the PGA Tour has been tremendous and significant,” said Monahan.
Monahan said at the Valspar Championship, where Woods finished runner-up behind Paul Casey, ratings had increased from a figure of 3.2 to 5.1.
“That is a lot more people seeing Paul Casey and hearing his story and the other players in the mix,” Monahan said.
“Also, if you are Brooks Koepka and you win back-to-back US Opens and then win the PGA Championship with Tiger in the mix with a TV rating that Sunday in St. Louis of a 5.4 then that is a 75% increase in the ratings. That is more people seeing Brooks, hearing Brooks and learning about Brooks talent.
“So, if people ask me if that is a good or a bad thing my answer is that Tiger’s return has been so positive as you only have to witness the fan reaction at the tournaments Tiger has elected to play this year.”
Monahan was speaking at the confirmation of major changes to the 2018/19 PGA Tour schedule with the Play-Off Series to be reduced from four to three events and with a new final event scoring system.
The will be a 50% increase in prize-money, with the winner receiving $15 million as FedEx Cup champion while the FedEx Cup bonus pool is being increased from $25m to $60m.
“As a result of these changes, you’ll see a comprehensive player earnings jump to over $500m in 2019, a jump of 12%, and something we are very proud of,” said Monahan.