In case you missed it, Jonathan Mahler had a good, long profile in the Sunday Magazine on the return of Tiger Woods and what it means for the PGA:
As far as professional golf is concerned, Woods cannot come back fast enough. The PGA Tour is at a critical juncture. Next year it will begin negotiating new TV contracts with CBS and NBC. In the meantime, the tour is trying to secure sponsors for 10 events in 2011 while economic conditions are not exactly favorable. Two of the hardest-hit industries, financial services and car manufacturing, are responsible for underwriting a third of the PGA Tour’s sponsored events. More to the point, the entire economic model of a golf tournament is looking a bit suspect. At the moment, the value of a company’s flying clients and employees to a sunny locale to drink Grey Goose cocktails and get tips on their short games from professional golfers is most likely to be lost on many of its shareholders. In other words, drumming up new sponsors and increasing — or just maintaining, really — the worth of its TV deals would have been hard enough for the tour even if the world’s greatest golfer and most recognizable athlete had not become enmeshed in the biggest tabloid story in years.
“Maybe I shouldn’t say this, but in the last couple of years the tour has been aware of the fact that the negotiations of TV contracts and sponsorships are coming up, and in advising us on what to do, the one thing they’ve said is that we need the superstars to play more and no scandals, no controversies,” Harrison Frazar, a veteran of the PGA Tour, told me a couple months ago. “Well, it’s unfortunate that what’s happened right now is the ultimate scandal in the history of professional golf, and it’s happened to the absolute wrong person.”
I don’t play golf and I never watched it before Woods came along. If he’s in it come the final day at the Masters, or any of the Majors this year, and I’m around, yeah, I’ll tune in, and yeah, I’ll be pulling for him to win.