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November 25, 1998|LARRY STEWART

A consumer's guide to the best and worst of sports media and merchandise. Ground rules: If it can be read, played, heard, observed, worn, viewed, dialed or downloaded, it's in play here.

What: Sun Microsystems Par 3 Challenge

Where: Channel 11

When: Thursday, 10 a.m.

Add this new golf event to your Thanksgiving Day sports viewing menu. It could be the most revolutionary thing to hit golf television since the Skins Game in the early 1980s.

It's a simple premise. Take three players from the PGA Tour, three from the LPGA Tour and two from the Senior Tour, make every hole a par three, and let them compete. Oh, and to make things more interesting, make any hole in one worth $1 million.

Basically, all that was needed was a beautiful golf course, in this case the Four Seasons Resort Aviara course 30 miles north of San Diego, a sponsor, big-name players, network television time, and an insurance company to cover the hole-in-one prize.

"With eight players, you have 144 shots at someone winning $1 million," said Michael Weisman, one of the creators of the event and the producer of the telecast.

The odds of a pro making a hole in one are said to be about one in 1,400 on any one shot, and 144 shots brings the odds down to one in 10.

The players are Justin Leonard, Jesper Parnevik, Davis Love III, Se Ri Pak, Annika Sorenstam, Michelle McGann, Gil Morgan and Jim Colbert.

The event was taped at the end of August. We won't ruin it for you by telling you how it turns out, but there is a surprise ending.

Football, of course, provides the main course for Thanksgiving Day viewing, but the Par 3 Challenge provides a nice side dish.

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