With a third place finish at the FedEx Cup Playoff’s Deutsche Bank Championship, Tiger Woods became a new kind of No. 1 — one that stretches beyond the world’s golf rankings.
With the $544,000 paycheck Woods collected with the win, he eclipsed the $100 million mark in career earnings, over $30 million above the next closest. No one moves the needle like the former world No. 1 when it comes to viewership, sponsorship and excitability.
That much was apparent during NBC’s telecast of the event when the Norton, Mass. gallery at TPC Boston was clearly rooting for Woods to pull off another legendary victory.
He almost did it, but fell just short, falling to eventual champion Rory McIlroy by two shots.
But Woods captured the career earnings victory with his finish, and solidifies his place as a legend of the game. The ‘Tiger Effect’ is impossible to ignore.
To put it in perspective, Woods earned $486,000 for his first major victory at Augusta National Golf Club. That’s nearly 300% less than what McIlroy earned as the winner of a non-major in 2012. He and the rest of the tour owe it to Woods for generating excitement into a game that inherently has very little of it — purses from today’s game far outweigh those of the PGA TOUR’s relatively recent past.
Monday was a microcosm of what Tiger has done for the sport. The tournament, as the crowd was behind him throughout the day, was exciting and the crowd lived and died with his every shot. For a day, golf mattered again to the casual fan, something it can only do when the game’s greatest active legend has a chance to win.
For the sport’s sake, let’s hope that Tiger Woods really is back.
Michael C. Jones is the Editor of Sports Out West. For more insight, you can follow him on Twitter @MikeJonesTweets