Woods-Duval was more
show than showdown
They laughed in front
of the cameras. They hit spectacular shots and made funky decisions.
The only thing missing
was the very element everyone wanted: a rivalry.
In a much-hyped meeting
between the world's top two golfers, Tiger Woods and David Duval played
an 18-hole match, with a purse of $1.5 million for three hours of work.
that cast long shadows on the 17th green Monday night, Duval conceded a
2-foot par putt that gave Woods a 2-and-1 victory at Sherwood Country Club,
the first live network telecast of a golf event in prime time.
"This is the first
time this has ever been done," Woods said. ``We were going to come out
here and put on a show."
Some shots did justice
to the hype, such as the 5-iron from Woods that stopped 5 feet from the
hole for a birdie and his biggest lead of the match on No. 12.
Some decisions were
downright odd, such as the one by Duval on the 16th hole. He aimed for
a cluster of rocks in the middle of the fairway, thinking his ball would
surely move slightly to the left or right. But moments later there he was
-- bending to retrieve the ball from a crevice in the boulder.
But clearly an important
element was lacking in this get-together.
"A rivalry?" Woods
said. ``No, not yet.''
That may have to wait,
perhaps as early as next week in the PGA Championship, or maybe until IMG
believes the public is hungry for another meaningless match.
"This is pretty cool,"
Woods and Duval aren't
the only superstars in golf or else they would have met more than just
once the past four years and won more major championships than the one
between them (Woods in the 1997 Masters).
Still, they were the
players everyone wanted to see.
Grown men acted like
children, pushing and shoving just to get a snapshot of Duval as he walked
from the putting green to the driving range. One man wore a T-shirt that
said, "Tiger Woods for President," then climbed a rock for Woods to see
(he never looked).
"It was a pretty exciting
atmosphere," Woods said. ``I didn't think the crowd would be as boisterous
as it was. There were no gray areas. There were only two players, and they
were either for one guy or the other."
About 2,000 people
scrambled to see every shot, at times ducking under the ropes and running
behind Woods and Duval in the fairway.
A masterpiece this
"My game did not feel
real good, and I don't know why," Duval said. ``I know I can play better
against him than I did."
Duval won the first
two holes, but didn't win another until a par save from the bunker on No.
13. Of the five holes that Woods won during that stretch to go 3-up, four
of them were on par-3s.
This was only the
second time Woods and Duval have played together with a large amount of
money on the line. The last Woods-Duval sighting was in the third round
of the World Series of Golf last year, when Duval had a 66 to Woods' 70
and went on to win.
Of course, they also
played against each other during friendly best-ball matches in Ireland
the week before the British Open, something that Duval brought up as they
were hitting balls on the range before they teed off.
"This is our rubber
match," Duval told him. ``Remember in Ireland? We were 1-1 in our Nassau
(bets). Of course, I won the money on them."
Not this kind of money.
Woods' share was $1.1
million, more than any amount he can win this year. Duval got $400,000,
more than what some players will get for winning a PGA Tour event. Of that,
each donated $100,000 to the charity of their choice, and $100,000
to The First Tee Program.
But this wasn't about
money. And, ultimately, it wasn't about a rivalry.
"I hate to say it,
but it's basically up to the ratings," Woods said. "How high the ratings
are will determine how successful it was."
ABC posted a 7.4 overnight
rating and a 12 share for the event, an increase from the network's usual
summer programming of a movie and "20/20," which averaged a 6.3 overnight
mark last year.
"My desire is that
this brings more people to the game," Duval said. "When Tiger turned pro
in '96, golf became cool -- not a dorky game."
Promoters called it
the "Showdown at Sherwood," although the only confrontation came before
the first tee shot was struck.
Caddies Steve Williams
and Mitch Knox each wore shorts to Sherwood, in the 91-degree heat. PGA
Tour official Vaughn Moise told them they would have to wear pants.
Knox, the caddie for
Duval, wound up buying pants that he had to roll up four times so they
wouldn't drag on the ground. When Moise confronted Williams, Woods stepped
in and told Williams not to change.
"This isn't an official
tournament," he snapped at Moise.
Not even a prime-time
audience could change that.