In a made-for-TV match that will bring unprecedented prime-time exposure to the top female golfers, Tiger Woods and Annika Sorenstam will face David Duval and Karrie Webb for a $1.7-million purse on Monday night.
"It's an extraordinary setting for those two players," Judy Rankin said of Sorenstam and Webb. Rankin is an LPGA Hall of Famer who will report on the 18-hole round for ABC Sports. "I know they're up to the task, but I have to believe they're pretty nervous."
The format at the Canyons Course at Bighorn Golf Club in Palm Desert, Calif., is alternate ball. The men will tee off on the odd-numbered holes; the women will drive from ladies' tees on the even-numbered holes. "I think Tiger and David will be pleasantly surprised to play from the fairway all night," Rankin said Thursday.
Although both Sorenstam and Webb must fly directly to London for the women's British Open after playing at Bighorn, the opportunity -- and the potential $600,000 prize money for each of the winning pair -- was too alluring to pass up.
"I realized that if Annika and I both turned something like this down, they would either find two other players to do it or they would not use women at all," Webb said.
Not only will the match provide a showcase for the LPGA, but also Sorenstam said, "this is going to be a lifetime experience for us. Personally, I love to play golf with the guys and we do not do that too often. Here we are, not just getting two guys, but we are getting two of the best guys."
One oddity: Neither woman has met her partner.
Based on the previous two prime-time ABC showdowns (Woods vs. Duval in 1999, which earned a 6.8 rating, and Sergio Garcia vs. Woods last year, which generated a 7.6), the network expects even higher ratings for the mixed doubles.
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