Masters ratings third highest ever

CBS boosted by Woods' presence, Mickelson's victory

CBS has birdied the Masters.

According to Nielsen, Sunday coverage of golf’s pre-eminent event drew a 12.0 overnight household rating/25 share, a nine-year high and up 36% from last year’s final round when Angel Cabrera won the tournament. Total viewers numbers won’t be available until Tuesday.

The Masters’ highest-rated Sunday coverage in the overnights was a 15.8/32, set in 1997 when Tiger Woods won his first Green Jacket. That year ended up averaging 20.2 million viewers in the nationals.

In addition to the draw of watching Woods come back from a four-month layoff following his scandalous personal life, the golf gods were kind to the Eye as some of the sport’s most popular players were in contention most of the day, including Woods, Fred Couples and eventual winner Phil Mickelson, whose family has been going through a hellish 10 months: Both Mickelson’s wife and mother are undergoing cancer treatments.

On the cable side, Thursday and Friday’s rounds on ESPN drew an average of 4.3 million to become the most-viewed two-round golf telecasts in cable history.