Tiger Woods' history-making win at the AT&T National certainly resonated with fans on Sunday.
Not only were the crowds at Congressional Country Club massive, the TV viewing audience for CBS was up 188 percent over the final round in 2011. The overnight household share was 4.6/10 (even with ratings for Philadelphia, Washington, D.C.; Baltimore and Columbus, Ohio excluded due to the lingering affects of the storm that knocked out power to millions.)
The rating for this year's final round -- where Woods picked up his third PGA TOUR win and passed Jack Nicklaus with 74 PGA TOUR wins -- was the highest since the tournament's 2007 debut. The rating peaked at a 6.8/14 from 6:30-6:45 p.m. ET as Woods' win was assured.
The rating for third-round coverage was up 69 percent over 2011 in the metered markets. Just broadcasting the third round was a challenge due to the storm damage that prompted tournament officials to make the unusual decision to close the course to fans and volunteers.
Tiger Woods shoots a final-round 69 to claim his 74th win on the PGA TOUR.
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
BETHESDA, Md. -- Tiger Woods has won three of his last seven starts after his victory Sunday at the AT&T National.
In a word, the parts of his game that have improved the most was “everything.”
“I remember there was a time when people were saying I could never win again,” Woods said. “That was, I think, what, six months ago.”
He doesn’t even have to go back that far, but there’s little arguing Woods’ progression.
Woods is first on the PGA TOUR in scoring average, fifth in total driving, 10th in greens in regulation, 14th in strokes gained-putting.
If golf is a game of numbers, Woods’ are as good as anybody’s.
Sunday, he hit 15 greens in regulation and for the week ranked ninth in the field in total putts.
“I think I hit it better at Memorial, but I putted by far better here,” said Woods, who added that good friend Notah Begay gave him a putting tip earlier in the week that seemed to help him find his rhythm.
There was a time not all that long ago when Woods’ confidence had admittedly waned.
Those days are over and the big picture is starting to come together.
“It was just a matter of time,” Woods said. “I could see the pieces coming together.”
Sunday, everyone else did, too.
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
BETHESDA, Md. -- Bo Van Pelt went the distance with Tiger Woods, for most of the day anyway.
Tied for the lead coming down the stretch of the AT&T National, Van Pelt had a small opening to seize control of the tournament on the 16th hole. Instead, he found out just how hard it is to beat the player he calls the best in the world right now.
After smoking a 345-yard drive down the left side of the fairway on the 589-yard par-5, Van Pelt’s 6-iron second shot took a bad bounce left and into the rough. With Woods’ third over the back of the green and in a bad spot of his own, Van Pelt still had a chance to do what Woods has done to so many others in his career.
Instead, Van Pelt left his pitch in the rough and went on to bogey the hole.
One hole later, Van Pelt made another bogey when his approach flew the green and was unable to get-up-down with an impossible flop shot that rolled through the rock hard putting surface.
Van Pelt bogeyed the 18th, too, but by then it was game over.
“Obviously it's disappointing,” Van Pelt said. “I felt like obviously when he hit it over the green on 16 I had my opportunity to take advantage. That's all I was trying to do. I felt like on the back nine if I could just keep putting pressure on him that maybe he'd give me an opening, and he did on 16. If I get the ball on the green there and make 5, who knows.”
Van Pelt added that he wouldn’t change any club he hit or change any line he took.
He’d certainly take a different result, of course, especially on the 16th.
”A yard to the right, that ball ends up in a pretty easy spot,” Van Pelt said of his 6-iron approach.
The ball wasn’t in a great lie -- it was sitting up, but there was a clump of grass in front of it -- and Van Pelt was forced to stand in the bunker with the ball well above his feet.
”If I hit that chip a little too hard it goes over the green because you can't put any spin on it,” he said. “I was just trying to get the ball up in the air and play it out to the right a little bit and just got underneath it a little bit.”
As Van Pelt said, it happens.
“We grinded, we competed, and it was just a matter of making the key putt or a key up-and-down and not making too many mistakes,” Woods said. “I figured it was going to come down to probably the last five or six holes and it ended coming down to, what, the last three holes where the tournament swung.”
The loss will sting for a couple of days, Van Pelt admitted. But not much longer than that.
He certainly seemed to relish the spotlight playing alongside Woods.
“It's a lot of fun,” said Van Pelt, who has known Woods since his college days. “That's why you travel 30 weeks a year, why you get up in the morning and you make the sacrifices that you do to have the opportunity to play the best player in the world in the final round with a chance to win a tournament. I was looking forward to it. The energy level is great. The crowd was great. It just didn’t work out.”
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
BETHESDA, Md. -- What could have been for Adam Scott.
“You can argue my 3 over through three holes was due to my very brief warm-up on Thursday, and that might end up being the difference between winning and not this week,” the Aussie said.
Scott didn’t have a chance to warm up Thursday because he overslept and nearly missed his tee time. In fact, he was fortunate to make it all given how long it can take to get from Georgetown, where Scott was staying for the week, to Congressional.
“I only have myself to blame,” Scott added.
Sunday, it looked like he might not have anyone to blame. Scott birdied four straight holes on the front nine and went out in 31 and a share of the lead.
Back-to-back bogeys on the 14th and 15th, however, ended his chances.
The first came when Scott left a chip shot 11 feet short on the par-4 14th, then missed the par putt.
Scott’s fate was sealed on the next hole when he lagged from 64 feet to 5 feet and missed again.
“I just didn't hit good enough shots overall on the back nine,” Scott said. “Twelve through 16 was really scrappy golf, and I did well only to drop a couple shots. It was a little disappointing in that respect, but I got half of what I needed to do, and it's a work in progress. The story of my year; I need to try and play well for four days.”
BETHESDA, Md. -- Tiger Woods and Bo Van Pelt share what’s become a three-shot lead for both players as they come down the stretch at Congressional Country Club.
Will Woods get his third win of the year and second AT&T National title here, or will Van Pelt get his first victory since 2009?
Share your thoughts below.