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Tiger-Annika team survives

Duo edges team of Duval-Webb after 19 holes

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PALM DESERT, Calif. — The LPGA Tour took advantage of its debut on prime time by airing its new advertising campaign titled, "Positively Amazing." The golf was anything but that in the mixed-team Battle at Bighorn.

The only amazing thing about this made-for-TV event was that it finally ended.

Hot, blustery winds and brick-hard greens conspired to turn a Monday night mixer at the club into a gruesome display of left-handed shots, putts that rolled off the green and errant drives that wound up in desert shrubs.

When it was over, Tiger Woods and Annika Sorenstam survived the 4 1/2-hour ordeal in true alternate-shot fashion.

Sorenstam made a 10-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole to extend the match, and Woods made another solid recovery that led to a par-saving victory in 19 holes over David Duval and Karrie Webb.

"All the players that I played with are all great players," Woods said. "It was just tough conditions out there. When you play in this type of format under tough conditions, it's really tough to get your rhythm. All of us were struggling."

Duval and Webb finished the 18 holes in 3-over 75, one stroke better than Woods and Sorenstam, who took back-to-back double bogeys early on the back nine.

Duval and Webb hit only five greens in regulation. Neither Webb nor Sorenstam could find the 18th fairway — twice — with the match on the line.

"I didn't play as well as I would have liked, but that's the way it goes," said Sorenstam, a member at Bighorn. "I had a good partner that picked me up."

Woods was far from perfect. The same went for Duval.

They missed their share of fairways, hit suspect chips, ran putts past the hole.

Still, the spotlight was on the women, who played before the largest audience ever.

Woods and Sorenstam split $1.2 million of the $1.7 million purse, but the real measure of success will come later this week when ABC Sports releases its ratings.

Woods vs. Duval two years ago got a 6.9 rating, while Sergio Garcia's victory over Woods last year got a 7.6. Officials were expecting something in that range — if not higher — for the first-of-its-kind match that pitted the best men and women in golf.

"This is one of the biggest days in LPGA history, if not the biggest day, based on the number of eyeballs that are going to be on our product," LPGA commissioner Ty Votaw said before the match.

By the end of the night, Votaw was trying to assess how his players will be perceived.

"Golf gets the blame," he said of the shabby scoring. "That's what is great about alternate shot. The golf wasn't that great down the stretch at the men's U.S. Open, either, and it was pretty entertaining."

Give this two thumbs up for entertainment value.

The golf was another story.

Working against the players was a wicked wind that whipped up about 15 minutes before they headed to the first tee with 5,000 people in tow. That made everything more difficult, from club selection to where the shots would land, compounded by brick-hard greens.