Tiger’s Losing Sunday Charge a Win for CBS

Tiger Woods on Sunday may have fallen short in his bid to win a fifth green jacket, but his electrifying surge in the front nine in the final round of the 2011 Masters was a boon for CBS.

Per Nielsen overnights, yesterday’s coverage from Augusta National earned a 10.4 rating/22 share, making it the second highest-rated final round in a decade. Only last year’s Masters, which marked Woods’ return to competitive golf and was capped by Phil Mickelson’s third career win at Augusta, outdelivered Sunday’s round (12.0/25).

Starting the round seven shots behind the soon-to-be stumbling Rory McIlroy, Woods roared back to the top of the leader board with a five-under 31 on the front half of the Augusta National course.

Catching and then passing the brash McIlroy must have been particularly sweet for Woods. During the run-up to last October’s Ryder Cup, McIlroy questioned Woods’ abilities, saying he “would love to face” the struggling champion in the annual challenge. The 21-year-old upstart from Northern Ireland—as old as Woods was when he claimed his historic first win at Augusta in 1997—also suggested that Woods had become an “ordinary” player since his fall from grace in 2009.

Stalking the course in his celebrated Sunday red polo, Woods showed he had the old stuff. And while the gallery cheered Woods on, McIlroy fell apart, plummeting from a four-shot lead to close out the tourney tied for 15th. Woods finished tied for fourth place at 10-under, taking home $330,667, or about $200,000 more than McIlroy.

Woods also made Ian Poulter dine on his words. The cheeky Englishman, who predicted that Woods wouldn’t finish in the top five at Augusta, closed out Sunday tied for 27th.

Ultimately, South African Charl Schwartzel donned the green jacket, shooting a 66 on the round and finishing 14 shots under par. Schwartzel birdied the final four holes to hold off Aussies Adam Scott and Jason Day.

Not only did this year’s final round outdraw the conclusion of the 2009 Masters by 18 percent, but it was also up 1 percent from 2005, when Woods won his fourth green jacket.

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