Local golf industry feeling the ‘Tiger Woods Effect’

Local golf industry feeling the 'Tiger Woods Effect'

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBMF) - Whether or not you truly believe there’s a “Tiger Woods Effect” on the game of golf, there’s no denying the fact more people are watching the game when Tiger’s on top.

If you ask anyone involved with the game of golf they will tell you the game is in a better place when Tiger Woods is winning.

Sunday’s final round coverage of the Masters averaged 10.8 million viewers making it the most-watched golf broadcast in over a year, even with that early 7:30 a.m. start time.

Workers at TopGolf Myrtle Beach saw it happen this past weekend during the Masters.

"Tiger winning, people came out and we’re hitting balls. It was one of our most popular Sundays,” said TopGolf General Manager Jeff Kowalski.

With years spent in the golf industry, Kowalski has seen the effect Tiger Woods has on the game of golf, not just as sport, but the business.

During Tiger’s dominance of the PGA from 1997 through 2008, the sport of golf changed, attracting nontraditional and younger fans to PGA Tour events.

"If he can sustain this, you will see an influx of people playing more out on the green grass and we are going to see a lot more at TopGolf,” said Kowalski.

Former PGA President Will Mann saw the “Tiger Woods Effect” change the landscape of golf during Woods’ prime on the PGA tour in the early to mid 2000′s.

"He’d go off into a crowd 15 years ago and never see a soul because he was so focused, today he’s acknowledging the crowd, signing gloves and I think he’s actually enjoying it more,” said Mann.

Tiger’s win also caught the eyes of a new generation of golfers, some who weren’t even born the last time he won a major championship.

“I heard he’s really good,” said 9-year-old golfer Lindsay Berrier.

TopGolf instructor Billy Belair said it’s great for the next generation get a glimpse of Tiger’s dominance and believes Woods’ win will get more kids interested in the game of golf.

"The last few years the kids had no idea who Tiger Woods was, so this week I found it pretty exciting asking these kids who’s your favorite golfer when you watch the tournament and they said Tiger Woods, all of them,” said Belair.

Whether or not Tiger will sustain another chase for 18 major championships, both Mann and Kowalski know the game is better when Tiger Woods is on top.

"It inspires a lot of kids to give this game a try and inspires a lot of older guys to get out their and hit some balls. I think across the board it’s going to help grow the game,” said Mann.

"Tiger wins, golf wins, TopGolf wins!” said Kowalski.

Woods’ next shot at a major will be the PGA Championship at Bethpage Black, where he won in 2002.

Copyright 2019 WMBF. All rights reserved.