When Tiger Woods whiffed the PGA Championship cut, media observers feared for the emotional well-being of CBS executives.
And that was before unknowns Keegan Bradley and Jason Dufner became central figures in Sunday’s late drama.
But let’s face it: While there is no denying Woods remains a strong TV attraction, it finally is time for golf and those who televise it to accept this as the new normal and stop counting on Eldrick to save them.
Woods began the week plastered over ads promoting the PGA and ended his visit Friday looking again like Just Another Guy.
How much longer will the viewing public’s morbid curiosity last during Woods’ free fall? Not much. This is starting to get old, and golf is starting to look again like the niche sport it was pre-Tiger.
Speaking of which, CBS averaged 4.1 percent of homes for the final round, a figure that would have been worse if the event had not ended with a playoff. (New York ranked 46th out of 56 major markets at 3.7 percent.)
The 4.1 rating was down from 4.3 for Martin Kaymer’s overtime win last year and 6.6 for Y.E. Yang’s victory in 2009. Yup, Woods finished second to Yang that year.
Naturally, a post-Woods world is not good for the business of golf. But the sport still will be supported by the avid fans most likely to buy the products advertised on golf telecasts — and most likely to know the name of the latest no-name to win a major. Golf isn’t going anywhere.
The harsh truth, though, is many of the rest of us have moved on, looking for the next big thing.