This past weekend, golf made news again and this time not just on the Golf Channel. Broadcasters were talking about golf on Sportscenter, CNN, Fox, Morning TV, and writers everywhere were typing away, tweeting, and meeting deadlines in the printed press. Why you might ask? Well, it’s Tiger Tiger Woods y’all.
Tiger’s return was a shot in the arm at the end of a tremendous year for golf and had TV execs salivating at the possibilities for more. His return to competition caused a seismic shift in TV ratings all week long. Thursday’s first round of the Hero World Challenge, drew a .86 rating (about 786,000 viewers), which was up 190% from last year’s event. Keep in mind, this was a Thursday, and a golf tournament, and in December. According to NBC/Golf Channel, Thursday’s round was the most-watched fourth-quarter (Oct-Dec) round in Golf Channel history. Rounds 2, 3, and 4 didn’t disappoint either, with ratings up 200% on Friday, 162% / 92% (Golf Channel/NBC) on Saturday, and 126% / 54% (Golf Channel/NBC) on Sunday, respectively.
And don’t think TV execs were the only ones who noticed. Vegas, where everything happens and stays (unless it’s on an iPhone or Instagram), loved Tiger’s return as well. In fact, post tournament betting odds have already hit the streets. With a good start at the Hero World Challenge, some are already predicting what Tiger Woods’ 2017 could look like. Tiger’s over/under for numbers of tournaments, cuts made, withdrawals, and even his odds to win a major in 2017 (21/2) are all there waiting for those who wish to take a chance and put some big bucks down. Particularly interesting are the odds of Tiger ever winning a major again (10/11), which tells me even Vegas is holding out hope for the return of the Tiger of old.
Signature Consumer Portal Among Suite of Retail Sites
USGA LAUNCHES NEW USGASHOP.COM, OFFERS 2017 U.S. OPEN MERCHANDISE
The United States Golf Association (USGA) has reimagined its online shopping experience, expanding its product lines while making it easier for fans to find and purchase their favorite championship merchandise. The result is a new USGAshop.com that has been launched in collaboration with Fanatics, the global leader for licensed sports merchandise, complete with a new 24/7 customer support model and improved flat rate shipping costs.
The new site will serve as the apparel, headwear and gift headquarters for all 13 annual championships conducted by the USGA. Exclusive merchandise and accessories for the 2017 U.S. Open Championship, scheduled for June 15-18 at Erin Hills in Erin, Wis., have been released as well, featuring the distinctive Erin Hills logo.
“The relaunch of USGAshop.com combines merchandise collections across all USGA championships with a world-class customer shopping experience,” said Sarah Hirshland, USGA senior managing director of Business Affairs. “Our suite of sites provides golfers with expanded options and designs to match their passions and personal memories.”
Fans shopping the new and improved site will benefit from seamless desktop and mobile-optimized navigation, faster delivery options and a more streamlined end-to-end shopping experience.
Enhanced search technology will allow shoppers to more easily find items they want, with a significantly expanded inventory. The site will offer hundreds of products – including polos, outerwear, glassware, flags and golf hats – in time for the busy holiday season. Select USGA products will also be available through Fanatics’ worldwide fan portal.
The USGA has also launched USGAcardshop.com through its new relationship with greeting card and stationery specialist Viabella. More than 35 holiday card designs popular with USGA members and golf enthusiasts have been released, with standard message options and the ability to create personalized cards that include photos and messages. Starting in quantities of 20 cards per order and deliverable within a few business days, the secure ordering system is available to both consumers and businesses.
“The USGA’s golf-themed holiday cards are a long-standing tradition that allow golfers to share their passion for the game with friends and family while supporting the great work of the USGA,” said Hirshland. “Our new designs and personalization options bring a modern look and feel to a custom passed down through generations.”
The USGA has also reinvented USGApublications.com, the portal for ordering The Rules of Golf, Decisions on the Rules of Golf and other educational materials. In line with the Association’s commitment to sustainability, many of the USGA publications incorporate soy inks and are printed using solar- and wind-generated power sources through its relationship with Allied Printing, Inc. New to the website is the capability for individual consumers, as well as golf associations, golf facilities and schools and universities, to place orders online.
Additionally, shoppers looking to take home a piece of history can continue to purchase photographs from one of the most comprehensive collections of golf photography in the world. Visitors to the USGA Photo Store can shop from more than 500,000 timeless images, including original black-and-white prints from the beginning of golf and photography in the United States, as well as an extensive collection of contemporary images. Each year, more than 15,000 images are added to the collection from the USGA’s film library, championships and other assignments.