The Tiger Woods Effect: 50% rise in private flights to The Masters

Senior Writer
Yahoo Finance

The private aviation company Wheels Up tells Yahoo Finance that orders for private flights to Augusta for this year’s Masters golf tournament are up more than 50% over last year.

It’s undoubtedly The Tiger Effect.

When Tiger Woods was in contention on the final day of the Valspar Championship in mid-March, he proved again that his presence is gold for the golf business. The final round of the Valspar was the best-rated golf telecast, other than The Masters, since 2015. Clearly, for this year’s Masters, Tiger is attracting wealthy crowds.

Tiger Woods celebrates after sinking a putt to win The Masters in 2005. (Getty)
Tiger Woods celebrates after sinking a putt to win The Masters in 2005. (Getty)

Wheels Up says that customers order private flights to events like The Masters as late as 24 hours ahead of time, and that some people are still ordering flights for the weekend. Last year, Wheels Up sold about 100 direct flights to Augusta, and that number is up 50% at the time of this article, but is continuing to escalate. Wheels Up is a competitor to NetJets, which is owned by Berkshire Hathaway.

The plane that Wheels Up offers is a King Air 350i, which the company jokingly calls a “flying SUV.” It can hold eight passengers and costs $10,000 on average for a one-way ride to The Masters. Wheels Up says most of the orders are coming from the Tri-state area, Midwest, and Atlanta, and that the average flight duration is two hours. Because of the plane’s small size, it can land at local Daniel Field in Augusta, whereas most commercial flights cannot. (Tune into The Final Round today at 3:55 p.m. ET, our live afternoon show, for an interview with Wheels Up CEO Kenny Dichter.)

Expect to see the Tiger Effect rear its head in myriad other ways over the next four days, as long as Woods remains in the hunt.

Daniel Roberts is the sports business writer at Yahoo Finance. Follow him on Twitter at @readDanwrite.

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