Palm Desert, Calif. Perhaps the people putting together Tiger Woods' latest prime-time show should have waited a little longer to pick his opponent.
Imagine Bob May and Woods going at it in a real "Battle of Bighorn."
That's not what ABC viewers will get tonight when Woods returns to prime time after a year of winning almost everything in the daytime. Instead, he'll face Spain's Sergio Garcia in a scheduled 18-hole made-for-television match.
Garcia was picked long before May staged his thrilling and memorable duel with Woods in the PGA Championship. And the mediocre way Garcia has played this year has done nothing to boost any claim to a budding rivalry with Woods.
That leaves little at stake at Bighorn Golf Club except TV ratings and $1.5 million in prize money in an event that is more packaged entertainment than competition.
Oh, and a bit of pride, too.
"I'm not going to lay down for him, that's for sure," said Woods, who earned $1 million on Sunday with an 11-stroke victory in the NEC Invitational in Akron, Ohio.
It's not likely to match the drama of the PGA, where Woods and May went head-to-head down the stretch at Valhalla Golf Club. But it is a chance for viewers to bond again with Woods in a show that begins at 7 p.m.
It worked last year, when Woods beat David Duval in the inaugural match, and enough people tuned in to give it a 6.9 national rating and a 12 share. And ABC is hoping it will work again.
For what will be 3 1/2 hours or less work at Bighorn, the winner will take home $1.1 million, while the loser will have to console himself with $400,000.
While Duval was competitive last year losing 2-and-1 at Sherwood Country Club this year's match at first glance appears to be more of a mismatch. Garcia has not won this year. He got the nod largely because he is also represented by the IMG sports agency that handles Woods, and because his enthusiastic play on the course might add a spark missing with the wooden Duval last year.