Archive for Tuesday, July 31, 2001

Battle at Bighorn’ down to wire

July 31, 2001


— Give two thumbs up for the entertainment value of this "Battle at Bighorn."

The golf was another matter.

In a made-for-TV event that allowed the best two women players to join Tiger Woods and David Duval in prime time, blustery wind made the quartet of major championship winners look like they were struggling to make the cut.

The only drama was the end.

Annika Sorenstam made a 10-foot birdie putt on the 18th to extend the alternate-shot match, then she and Woods completed their late comeback with a par on the first extra hole to defeat Duval and Karrie Webb.

"The only putt I made," Sorenstam said. "I didn't play as well as I liked, but that's the way it goes. I had a good partner who picked me up."

Woods wasn't perfect no one was on a long night in the California desert with gusts up to 30 mph that made it difficult to keep the ball in play and get it to the green.

Woods and Sorenstam each hit shots left-handed. Sorenstam putt one ball off the green, while Webb watched in anguish as one of her putts rolled 60 feet past the hole. Duval and Webb hit only five greens in regulation.

Both teams shot 4-over 76 on the Canyons Course at Bighorn.

"It was hot, dusty and we lost," Duval said. "That combination is not good."

When it was over, Woods and Sorenstam shared $1.2 million from the $1.7 million purse.

As with the previous two Monday Night Golf exhibitions, the only success that really matters will be the TV ratings that will be released later this week.

Woods vs. Duval got a 6.9 rating two years ago in the inaugural event, while Sergio Garcia's 1-up victory over Woods last year garnered a 7.6. Anything close to that will represent the largest audience to see women play golf.

"This is one of the biggest days in LPGA history," commissioner Ty Votaw said before the match, "if not the biggest day, based on the number of eyeballs that are going to be on our product."

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