Tiger effect creating excitement for Ryder Cup and next year

Tiger Woods wasn't the only one celebrating after he won the Tour Championship. Golf announcers and network executives are excited about the momentum Woods' comeback season can generate for ratings.

All three of the sport's major U.S. broadcasters have reasons to look forward to the next nine months.

CBS' Jim Nantz saw signs of Woods working his way back into contention at the Honda Classic last February in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, as well as The Memorial in Columbus and at the PGA Championship, where he finished two strokes behind Brooks Koepka.

"I saw him working his way through it and never doubted that he would win again," Nantz said. "It could have happened earlier but he would have trouble over the last nine holes and lose some shots. But you don't say it was ever over with him because he will outwork everyone."

The immediate beneficiary is the NBC Sports Group, which has this weekend's Ryder Cup on Golf Channel and NBC. It also had last weekend's Tour Championship and saw a ratings increase of 178 percent. Sunday's final round had a 4.45 Nielsen rating. The round also had 18.4 million minutes streamed across NBC's digital platforms according to the network.

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Tiger Woods' girlfriend Erica Herman
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Tiger Woods' girlfriend Erica Herman
AUGUSTA, GEORGIA - APRIL 14: Tiger Woods (R) of the United States celebrates with his girlfriend Erica Herman (L) and son Charlie Axel (C) as he comes off the 18th green in celebration of his win during the final round of the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club on April 14, 2019 in Augusta, Georgia. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 06: Tiger Woods and his girlfriend Erica Herman look on during a Presidents Cup media opportunity at the Yarra Promenade on December 5, 2018 in Melbourne, Australia. The Presidents Cup 2019 will be held on December 9-15, 2019, when it returns to the prestigious Royal Melbourne Golf Club in Australia. (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)
DECEMBER 5, 2018: MELBOURNE, VIC - (EUROPE AND AUSTRALASIA OUT) Golfer Tiger Woods with Erica Herman promotes next years Presidents Cup at Eureka Tower in Melbourne, Victoria. (Photo by Michael Klein / Newspix / Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - NOVEMBER 23: Erica Herman, girlfriend of Tiger Woods, and his children Sam and Charlie look on during The Match: Tiger vs Phil at Shadow Creek Golf Course on November 23, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images for The Match)
LAS VEGAS, NV - NOVEMBER 23: Erica Herman, girlfriend of Tiger Woods, and his children Sam and Charlie look on during The Match: Tiger vs Phil at Shadow Creek Golf Course on November 23, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images for The Match)
ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 23: Tiger Woods, winner of the TOUR Championship with his girlfriend, Erica Herman after the final round of the TOUR Championship at East Lake Golf Club on September 23, 2018, in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Stan Badz/PGA TOUR)
ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 23: Tiger Woods and his girlfriend Erica Herman celebrate after the final round of the TOUR Championship at East Lake Golf Club on September 23, 2018, in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Stan Badz/PGA TOUR)
ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 23: Tiger Woods and his girlfriend Erica Herman celebrate after the final round of the TOUR Championship at East Lake Golf Club on September 23, 2018, in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Stan Badz/PGA TOUR)
ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 23: Tiger Woods and his girlfriend Erica Herman celebrate after the final round of the TOUR Championship at East Lake Golf Club on September 23, 2018, in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Stan Badz/PGA TOUR)
POTOMAC, MD - JULY 01: Tiger Woods looks on with Erica Herman on the 18th green during the final round of the Quicken Loans National at TPC Potomac on July 1, 2018 in Potomac, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
December 3, 2017; New Providence, The Bahamas; Sam Woods (daughter of Tiger Woods, far left), Charlie Woods (Woods' son, second from left), Erica Herman (third from left), and professional tennis player Rafael Nadal (second from right) stand on the third hole during the final round of the Hero World Challenge golf tournament at Albany. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
December 2, 2017; New Providence, The Bahamas; Erica Herman (left), Sam Woods (daughter of Tiger Woods, center), and Charlie Woods (Woods' son, right) walk on the first hole during the third round of the Hero World Challenge golf tournament at Albany. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
December 2, 2017; New Providence, The Bahamas; Sam Woods (daughter of Tiger Woods, fourth from right) and Charlie Woods (Woods' son, third from right), Erica Herman (far right) watch Tiger Woods (far left) on the third hole during the third round of the Hero World Challenge golf tournament at Albany. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
JERSEY CITY, NJ - OCTOBER 01: (L-R) Erica Herman, Captain's Assistant Tiger Woods and Notah Begay watch Daniel Berger of the U.S. Team putt on the 15th hole green during Sunday Singles matches at the Presidents Cup at Liberty National Golf Club on October 1, 2017, in Jersey City, New Jersey. (Photo by Keyur Khamar/PGA TOUR)
JERSEY CITY, NJ - OCTOBER 01: Tiger Woods one of the United States team assistant captain's on the first hole with Erica Herman during the final day singles matches matches in the 2017 Presidents Cup at the Liberty National Golf Club on October 1, 2017 in Jersey City, New Jersey. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
JERSEY CITY, NJ - OCTOBER 01: Tiger Woods with girlfriend Erica Herman after the Presidents Cup on October 1, 2017, at Liberty National Golf Clubin Jersey City NJ. (Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
JERSEY CITY, NJ - OCTOBER 01: Captain's assistant Tiger Woods of the U.S. Team and Erica Herman look on during Sunday singles matches of the Presidents Cup at Liberty National Golf Club on October 1, 2017 in Jersey City, New Jersey. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
JERSEY CITY, NJ - OCTOBER 01: Captain's assistant Tiger Woods of the U.S. Team and Erica Herman walk on the first hole during Sunday singles matches of the Presidents Cup at Liberty National Golf Club on October 1, 2017 in Jersey City, New Jersey. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
JERSEY CITY, NJ - SEPTEMBER 30: Captain's assistant Tiger Woods of the U.S. Team and Erica Herman look on during Saturday four-ball matches of the Presidents Cup at Liberty National Golf Club on September 30, 2017 in Jersey City, New Jersey. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
JERSEY CITY, NJ - SEPTEMBER 30: Captain's assistant Tiger Woods of the U.S. Team and Erica Herman look on during Saturday four-ball matches of the Presidents Cup at Liberty National Golf Club on September 30, 2017 in Jersey City, New Jersey. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
JERSEY CITY, NJ - SEPTEMBER 30: Captain's assistant Tiger Woods of the U.S. Team and Erica Herman look on during Saturday four-ball matches of the Presidents Cup at Liberty National Golf Club on September 30, 2017 in Jersey City, New Jersey. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
JERSEY CITY, NJ - SEPTEMBER 30: Erica Herman walks during Saturday foursome matches of the Presidents Cup at Liberty National Golf Club on September 30, 2017 in Jersey City, New Jersey. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
JERSEY CITY, NJ - SEPTEMBER 29: Captain's assistant Tiger Woods of the U.S. Team and Erica Herman look on during Friday four-ball matches of the Presidents Cup at Liberty National Golf Club on September 29, 2017 in Jersey City, New Jersey. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
JERSEY CITY, NJ - SEPTEMBER 29: Tiger Woods (R), Captains Assistant of the U.S. Team, and girlfriend Erica Herman (C) sit together during the second round of the Presidents Cup at Liberty National Golf Club on September 29, 2017, in Jersey City, New Jersey. (Photo by Scott Halleran/PGA TOUR)
JERSEY CITY, NJ - SEPTEMBER 29: Daniel Berger of the U.S. Team, Captain's assistant Tiger Woods of the U.S. Team and Erica Herman walk during Friday four-ball matches of the Presidents Cup at Liberty National Golf Club on September 29, 2017 in Jersey City, New Jersey. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
JERSEY CITY, NJ - SEPTEMBER 29: Tiger Woods (L), Captains Assistant of the U.S. Team, and girlfriend Erica Herman (R) talk together during the second round of the Presidents Cup at Liberty National Golf Club on September 29, 2017, in Jersey City, New Jersey. (Photo by Scott Halleran/PGA TOUR)
JERSEY CITY, NJ - SEPTEMBER 28: Captain's assistant Tiger Woods of the U.S. Team walks with Erica Herman during Thursday foursome matches of the Presidents Cup at Liberty National Golf Club on September 28, 2017 in Jersey City, New Jersey. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
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NBC Sports' Mike McCarley, who is the president of the network's golf coverage, said last weekend's FedEx Cup finale and this weekend's Ryder Cup present two interesting story lines.

"Last weekend he was squaring off against a generation of players who watched him. Now he is teaming up with them this week," McCarley said from Paris. "It sets up a good story line for next year where Tiger will be squaring off with younger players who were inspired by him and attempted to fill the void. Whether it is in the spring or summer it is shaping up as a pretty dynamite season."

NBC and Golf Channel have 30 hours of Ryder Cup coverage Friday through Sunday. Golf Channel will air Friday's coverage and NBC will have Saturday and Sunday.

Justin Leonard was paired with Woods at the 1997 Ryder Cup and will be a part of NBC's crew this weekend. Leonard said what he is looking forward to this weekend is seeing how Woods and Phil Mickelson work together on the same team.

"I don't think we'll see a Tiger-Phil pairing, but it will be fascinating to watch how this unfolds, seeing how at the beginning of the year, we didn't think either of these players would be on this team, and now here they are," he said.

With Woods back in regular contention, Nantz is hoping that the spotlight will also spread to other players like it did when Woods was at his peak.

"Now that he is re-credentialed as a winner again, hopefully players that win tournaments where he competes will get recognized more," Nantz said. "I'm excited for the game and next season because of the depth."

19 PHOTOS
Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson together
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Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson together
24 March 2001: Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson wait to hit at TPC at Sawgrass during the third round of play at The Players Championship in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. DIGITAL IMAGE. Mandatory Credit: Harry How/ALLSPORT
AUGUSTA, : Tiger Woods(L) walks off the 18th green with Phil Mickelson after winning the 2001 Master at the Augusta National Golf Club, 08 April 2001, in Augusta, Georgia. Woods held his nerve in one of the most thrilling final days in Masters history in Augusta 08 April to become the first player ever to hold all four Major titles at the same time. AFP PHOTO/Robert SULLIVAN (Photo credit should read ROBERT SULLIVAN/AFP/Getty Images)
AUGUSTA, : Tiger Woods (L) of the US shakes hands with compatriot Phil MIckelson (R) after their round on the 18th hole 08 April, 2001 during the final round of the 2001 Masters Golf Tournament at the Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia. Woods won the Masters by one stroke in Augusta 08 April to become the first golfer in history to hold all four professional Major titles at one time. AFP PHOTO/Jeff HAYNES (Photo credit should read JEFF HAYNES/AFP/Getty Images)
BLOOMFIELD TOWNSHIP, UNITED STATES: US Ryder Cup teammates Tiger Woods (L) and Phil MIckelson (R) talk to each other after losing for the second time in two matches 17 September, 2004 at Oakland Hills Country Club in Bloomfield Township, Michigan. The European team leads the US 6 1/2 to 1 1/2. AFP PHOTO/TIMOTHY A. CLARY (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)
BLOOMFIELD TOWNSHIP, UNITED STATES: US Ryder Cup teammates Tiger Woods (R) and Phil Mickelson (C) stand with European team member Colin Montgomerie (L) of Scotland during their Four-Ball match 17 September, 2004 at Oakland Hills Country Club in Bloomfield Township, Michigan the site of the 35th Ryder Cup. The US team is trying to win the Ryder Cup back from the Europeans. AFP PHOTO/ROBERTO SHCMIDT (Photo credit should read ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP/Getty Images)
AUGUSTA, GA - APRIL 10: Tiger Woods is presented with the green jacket by Phil Mickelson after Woods won The Masters at the Augusta National Golf Club on April 10, 2005 in Augusta, Georgia. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
KRT US NEWS STORY SLUGGED: PRESIDENTSCUP KRT PHOTO BY STEVE DESLICH/KRT (September 24) GAINESVILLE, VA -- United States' Tiger Woods is hugged by teammate Phil Mickelson on the 18th green after Woods and Jim Furyk won their fourth round match against Vijay Singh and Stuart Appleby of the International team during the Presidents Cup in Gainesville, Virginia, on Saturday, September 24, 2005. (Photo by Steve Deslich/MCT/MCT via Getty Images)
KRT US NEWS STORY SLUGGED: PRESIDENTSCUP KRT PHOTO BY HARRY E. WALKER/KRT (September 25) GAINESVILLE, VA -- United States Team members Phil Mickelson, left and Tiger Woods celebrate on the 18th green after the US tTeam Presidents Cup victory over the International Team in the final round of the Presidents Cup in Gainesville, Virginia, on Sunday, September 24, 2005. (Photo by Harry E. Walker/MCT/MCT via Getty Images)
Medinah, UNITED STATES: Phil Mickelson (L) of the United States confers with compatriot Tiger Woods (R) on the sixth hole during the 1st round of the 2006 PGA Championship at Medinah Country Club on 17 August 2006 in Medinah, Illinois. AFP PHOTO/Timothy A. CLARY (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)
KILDARE, IRELAND - SEPTEMBER 21: United States Team Captain Tom Lehman (L), Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Jim Furyk (R) observe their country's national anthem during the Opening Ceremony of the 2006 Ryder Cup at The K Club on September 21, 2006 in Straffan, Co. Kildare, Ireland. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
12 June 2008: Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson during the first round of the US Open Championship at Torrey Pines South Golf Course in San Diego, CA. (Photo by Charles Baus/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
SHANGHAI, CHINA - NOVEMBER 03: Tiger Woods, (L) and Phil Mickelson of the USA pose at a Chinese chess table during the the Official 2009 WGC-HSBC Photocall at the Shanghai Port International Cruise Terminal on November 3, 2009 in Shanghai, China. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
LEMONT, IL - SEPTEMBER 12: (L-R) Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods look on from the second hole during the final round of the BMW Championship at Cog Hill Golf & Country Club on September 12, 2010 in Lemont, Illinois. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
US golfers Phil Mickelson (L) and Tiger Woods follow Tai Chi moves during a photo session in Shanghai on November 2, 2010. Woods will try to seize back the world number one spot when an enticing HSBC Champions tees off this week in China with a star-studded field battling it out in Asia's biggest tournament. AFP PHOTO/ Philippe Lopez (Photo credit should read PHILIPPE LOPEZ/AFP/Getty Images)
PEBBLE BEACH, CA - FEBRUARY 12: (L-R)Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods are seen on the second tee during the final round of the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am at Pebble Beach Golf Links on February 12, 2012 in Pebble Beach, California. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
NORTON, MA - AUGUST 30: Tiger Woods (R) and Phil Mickelson of the USA react on the 11th green during the first round of the Deutsche Bank Championship at TPC Boston on August 30, 2013 in Norton, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
MEDINAH, IL - SEPTEMBER 25: Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson of the USA share a joke during the second preview day of The 39th Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Golf Club on September 25, 2012 in Medinah, Illinois. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
AUGUSTA, GA - APRIL 03: Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson of the United States talk on the 11th hole during a practice round prior to the start of the 2018 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 3, 2018 in Augusta, Georgia. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, FL - MAY 11: Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson walk the fairway together during THE PLAYERS Championship on May 11, 2018 at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fl. (Photo by David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
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Fox is hoping that the Tiger Effect will be at its best in June, when the U.S. Open returns to Pebble Beach. With the tournament being on the West Coast, that means most of the coverage will be in prime time in the Eastern and Central time zones.

The 2015 U.S. Open, which was the last time it was held out West, averaged 3.5 million viewers. By comparison, last year's coverage on Fox and Fox Sports 1 averaged 2.85 million viewers, which was an improvement from 2017 (2.67 million) when Woods did not compete.

"It's going to be at a course where he is very comfortable and lapped the field in 2000," Fox's Joe Buck said. "Believe me, if we could package him in bubble wrap between now and next June we would."

Even though most are looking ahead, Nick Faldo is still marveling over the comeback season that Woods had and said it has been a phenomenal run.

"Tiger didn't think he was going to play again, ever, and he's competed for the last two majors which has been an incredible, incredible turnaround," Faldo said. "He must be excited that every week he plays, he plays a little bit better. I think, you know, having Tiger back is phenomenal for everybody, both inside the ropes and outside the ropes. It's great having him back."

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