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Top men & women to play in made for TV event

Annika Sorenstam couldn't ask for a better golfing partner.

She'll pair with Tiger Woods against David Duval and Karrie Webb in a $1.7 million match-play exhibition live on ABC Sports at 8 p.m. EDT on July 30.

''Tiger and prime-time television have already proven to be a very entertaining combination,'' ABC Sports president Howard Katz said today. ''Now we have taken the concept one step further.''

''The Battle at Bighorn'' is the third such program involving Woods. He lost to Sergio Garcia last August and beat Duval in 1999 in the first live network telecast of a golf event in prime time.

The 2000 edition drew a 7.6 national TV rating, and the 1999 show drew a 6.9 (each ratings point represents about 1 million TV households).

Ever since he won the 1997 Masters, Woods has been changing the way TV shows golf. His dominance, including four straight major championships, has lifted his sport's ratings the way Michael Jordan lifted basketball's.

In next month's alternate-shot contest, Woods and Duval will tee off on odd-numbered holes and Sorenstam and Webb will do so on even holes at the Bighorn Golf Club in Palm Desert, Calif.

Asked last month what such a made-for-TV exhibition could do for women's golf, Sorenstam said, ''For a day, it would be great for people to see that Karrie and I can play good golf.''

The winners will split $1.2 million, with the losers dividing $500,000. A total of $300,000 will go to charities picked by the players.

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