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ABC/IMG TOUT WOODS-DUVAL, BUT CRITICS TAKE SHOTS AT CONCEPT
Published May 11, 1999
IMG and ABC Sports formally announced that Tiger Woods and David Duval will meet in an 18-hole match-play format on Monday, August 2, which will be televised in prime time on ABC from Thousand Oaks, CA. The "Showdown at Sherwood" will be broadcast live from 8:00-11:00pm ET, and will feature both the players and their caddies wearing microphones on the course. In N.Y., Clifton Brown reports that ABC Sports President Howard Katz "would not make a specific prediction" about the event's ratings potential, but he "anticipated" that "it would attract more viewers than the usual summer programming during that time period" (N.Y. TIMES, 5/11). USA TODAY's Jerry Potter writes that network execs "expect" the telecast's rating "to at least equal the ratings of summer reruns" (USA TODAY, 5/11). Katz: "This is the type of programming that shows our commitment to continuing the tradition of excellence at ABC Sports" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 5/11). Katz: "It's not the British Open. We're not going to prove who the world's greatest player is. We want to entertain people." David Duval: "I thought he (Tiger) and I could expose the game to a broader audience. ABC came in and has given us the platform" (ESPN.com, 5/11). The AP's Doug Ferguson writes that "while the PGA Tour cannot endorse the exhibition, it has agreed to give the players the television release they need" (AP, 5/11). IMG Senior VP Barry Frank, who is credited with the idea for the event, says that he pitched it to Katz "only six weeks ago." Frank: "I never thought we could get all of the details in place this readily" (K.C. STAR, 5/11). Katz "acknowledged" the "risk involved" if one of the golfers plays poorly and the match "has a lopsided outcome" (HOLLY. REPORTER, 5/11). FROM THE GALLERY: In Houston, Eddie Sefko writes that "it sure seems like" the PGA Tour and network TV "are taking an active role in forcing a Duval-Woods rivalry down the public's throat." Sefko: "Hey, if Wrestlemania sells, why not golf's made-for-TV schlock?" While the event's proceeds going to charity is "great," the "event still treads unevenly on the thin line between sport and trashsport" (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 5/11). In Baltimore, Milton Kent: "The two greedy golfers and their representatives apparently weren't content to let time and real competition forge a true rivalry, so they had to go contrive this hokum, and ABC was all too willing to go along. ... Shame on ABC for wading hip deep into the toxic goo that Tiger Woods, David Duval and their agent, IMG, are creating" (SUN, 5/11). In K.C., Howard Richman writes that the Duval-Woods rivalry "hasn't developed in a major, so IMG and ABC have taken steps to manufacture it" (K.C. STAR, 5/11).