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Sports Weekend | TV-RADIO

Nothing Is Little About Bighorn

July 27, 2001|LARRY STEWART

Monday's "Battle of Bighorn" is big. Oh, it may be just another made-for-TV golf exhibition to Tiger Woods and David Duval, but to Karrie Webb and Annika Sorenstam and women's golf in general, it's big-time exposure.

ABC's live telecast from the Bighorn Golf Club in Palm Desert will begin at 5 p.m.

This is ABC's third Monday night golf special. Two years ago, Woods beat Duval at Sherwood Country Club in Thousand Oaks, and last year Sergio Garcia beat Woods at Bighorn.

Monday, it will be Woods and Sorenstam against Duval and Webb in an alternate-shot, match-play duel. The winning team gets $1.2 million and the losers get $500,000, with some of that money going to charity.

Judy Rankin, who will work as a commentator on the telecast, said, "I was pleased when I heard about the format. This is wonderful for women's golf."

The LPGA will use the telecast for the debut of an advertising campaign called "Positively Amazing" featuring Webb and Sorenstam.

"This is a great opportunity to show just how talented and amazing they are," LPGA Commissioner Ty Votaw said.

Supporting Role

The amazing thing about Monday's event is that Woods may not be the headliner. You've got a lot of focus on the two women, and Duval is coming off a British Open victory.

Producer Jack Graham said Duval's victory changes the focus of the show.

"You now have to do a British Open highlights package," he said. "And we'll have to freshen up the interview we did with David before the Open."

Ratings Winner

For "Showdown at Sherwood" in 1999, when Woods beat Duval, ABC got a 6.9 rating, second highest golf rating of the year. Only the final round of the Masters did better.

The "Battle of Bighorn" last year, with Garcia beating Woods on the final hole, got an even better rating, a 7.6, although that ranked only fifth best among the year's golf ratings.

The telecasts have had a little "Monday Night Football" flavor. Al Michaels will again join Mike Tirico, Curtis Strange and Rankin on the telecast. And as many as the last four holes will be played under lights.

Monday night, under lights. All that's missing is Hank Williams Jr. singing "Are you ready for some . . . golf?"

A Special Special

Fox Sports Net on Saturday at 10 a.m. will present an hourlong special on the Special Olympics of Southern California Summer Games, held last month at Long Beach State. The special, which will feature stories on several amazing athletes, will be replayed Sunday at 4 p.m. on Fox Sports Net 2 and several more times on both networks. Bill Macdonald and Leanza Cornett, a former Miss America, co-host the show.

Expanded Role

Steve Young's retirement hasn't been ho-hum--new wife, a baby, part-time jobs with ESPN and ABC. And his life is going to get busier. ESPN announced Thursday that Young will become a full-time member of "Sunday NFL Countdown."

Location was a key factor in Young accepting the job.

"My folks live in Greenwich, Conn., and now we can spend more time out there with them," he said.

ESPN is located in Bristol, Conn.

Moss Confusion

Randy Moss will work as a commentator on the CBS and ESPN2 horse racing shows from Saratoga on Saturday at noon and 2 p.m., respectively.

No, not the Minnesota Viking receiver who this week got an eight-year, $75-million contract.

This Randy Moss, from Tulsa, Okla., has been a horse racing commentator for ESPN for two years. Before that, Moss was a horse racing beat writer for several newspapers. He got his start with the Arkansas Gazette at 15. He used to sneak into the races at Oaklawn Park in his native Hot Springs, Ark.

Horsing Around

One of the highest-rated sports shows on cable television in Los Angeles in the last few months was "Hollywood Park Today" with Mike Willman and Kurt Hoover. So why is there no "Del Mar Today"?

A Fox Sports Net spokesman said there have been discussions about such a show, but nothing has been worked out.

That's a shame.

Angel Blackout

Another shame: No headway has been made in the Time Warner-Fox Sports Net dispute, and now Angel games are being blacked out.

So Time Warner subscribers will miss Saturday night's Angel-Baltimore game, Cal Ripken's next-to-last game at Anaheim. Sunday's game is not being televised at all because ESPN opted not to pick it up.

Short Waves

No surprise here: Besides featuring the Lakers and Philadelphia 76ers in a Christmas doubleheader, NBC will have the Lakers on the maximum 11 times during the 2001-02 regular season. . . . With Shaquille O'Neal, you just never know. He snubbed David Letterman--first agreeing to appear on Monday night's show and then backing out. Then he showed up on some half-baked cable cooking show and, presumably tongue in cheek, said he plans to retire in three years and go into law enforcement. He also made a surprise appearance this week at the Entertainers Classic street tournament in Harlem, grabbed a microphone and started announcing the game. O'Neal's appearance can been seen today at 5 p.m. on the TV channel.

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