Tiger Woods watches K.J. Choi of South Korea's drive off the sixth tee during the first round of the Masters golf tournament in Augusta, Ga., Thursday, April 8, 2010.

*It appears as if everyone and their mama tuned in to watch Tiger Woods tee off for the first time since his cheating scandal, as ESPN’s coverage of the Masters’ first round on Thursday drew 4.9 million viewers — the highest U.S. audience ever for a golf event on cable television.

The total is 50 percent more viewers than last year’s opening day, and 80 percent more than the first round in 2008, according to the Nielsen Co.

The sports network covered Woods’ first tee shot live within “SportsCenter” more than two hours before regular coverage started on Thursday.

Nielsen said its audience was double what it gets on a typical Thursday afternoon.