Paris - The number of television viewers tuning in to the US Masters this weekend is expected to almost double thanks to the Tiger Woods effect, according to Nielsen Entertainment.
Figures released by Nielsen show that the return to form of injury-plagued Woods after years in the wilderness has had a dramatic effect on the number of people tuning in to golf.
"Television viewers are taking notice when Woods is playing in 2018," Nielsen said in a statement on Wednesday.
"For the four events this season that Woods has finished inside the top 25, broadcast network viewership is up 93% versus the same events last year, or about two million more viewers on average."
A 14-times major champion, Woods, 41, tees off at Augusta on Thursday vying to pull-off a comeback that would rank as one of the greatest in sport.
Woods last won a major at the 2008 US Open and has missed the last two Masters because of a debilitating back injury.
Pain free at last after spinal fusion surgery last April, Woods has ignited expectations with one runner-up finish and a tie for fifth in five official PGA Tour starts this year -- his best finishes since 2015.
"When Tiger plays, fans tune in, it's as simple as that," said Jon Stainer, of Nielsen Sports Americas.
"Ahead of the Masters, his return to fitness and form will see swaths of viewers around the world tune in and increase golf's following dramatically this weekend."