Masters: ESPN Suffers 29% Decline Sans Tiger

The loss of Tiger Woods from the 2014 Masters Tournament was expected to result in a decline in viewership, and ESPN’s coverage of Thursday’s opening round backed up that notion.

ESPN’s coverage of Thursday first round from Augusta, Ga. averaged 2 million viewers from 3-7:30 p.m. ET, down 29% from last year’s 2.8 million, according to Nielsen. The household rating also dipped 25% to a 1.5 rating.

ESPN is carrying Friday’s second-round coverage, while CBS will air final round weekend coverage.