It remains to be seen how well Tiger Woods will do at the Masters, but his highly publicized return to golf is already scoring big with viewers.
ESPN's live coverage of the Masters' first round on Thursday attracted 4.9 million viewers to become the most-viewed golf telecast in cable history, the cable station announced Friday.
Thursday's coverage increased 47 percent in total viewers from last year's first-round telecast and jumped 102 percent from 2008. The telecast also beat the previous record-holder for most-watched golf telecast: the 2008 U.S. Open Championship playoff, when Woods defeated Rocco Mediate.
SportsCenter's live coverage of Woods' first tee shot Thursday afternoon at 1:42/12:42c drew a 1.1 rating and spiked 267 percent from the same time period last year.
The tournament is the 34-year-old's first tournament since his Thanksgiving car accident and subsequent scandal. At a news conference Monday, Woods said the reception he received during his first Masters practice round "blew me away ... It was something that touched my heart pretty good."