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Tiger's Return Drives Record Masters Ratings

Tiger Wood's return to golf is only a few days old but is already providing monster ratings. ESPN's first round coverage of the Masters Thursday (Apr. 8) averaged 4.9 million viewers, making it the most-viewed golf telecast in cable history.

The first round posted a 4.0 fast national household rating and 3.9 million household impressions, both second all-time for golf on cable behind the 2008 U.S. Open Championship playoff. That matchup, in which Woods defeated Rocco Mediate, was previously the most-watched in cable history, with 4.8 million viewers.

The viewer total was a 47% increase over least year's Thursday Master's coverage (3.4 million viewers). The corresponding household rating and impressions were both up 43%.

SportsCenter's live show from 1-2 p.m. Thursday included Wood's first tee shot. The show averaged a 0.8 rating, more than double last year's one-hour window at the same time. Coverage of the tournament on also increased 787% among unique viewers compared to last year's opening round.

Woods shot a 4-under-par 68 Thursday, tied for seventh place.