Oddsmakers like the TV guys who will tee it up at the American Century Championship celebrity golf tournament in mid July.
Retired players John Smoltz, lead baseball analyst for FOX Sports, and Tony Romo, a CBS football commentator, are both listed at 3-1 odds in the 30th-annual tourney at Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course in Stateline, Nevada. Both played in PGA TOUR events this spring and will compete with the best players in the world again before July, which makes them favorites over three-time champion Mark Mulder, who is at 7-2 at the Harrah’s and Harveys Race & Sports Book.
Ex-tennis pro Mardy Fish, whose golf game is solid, save for putting, is at 8-1. Land Shark Joe Pavelski, who led after both the first and second rounds in 2018, is 10-1. The soap opera guy and former champ Jack Wagner is 12-1. TV hockey analyst Jeremy Roenick and the original Tahoe celebrity golf champ Mark Rypien are 15-1. Ex-NBA deadeye shooter Ray Allen, who shot 6-under par the last two rounds in 2018, is 25-1, along with “no comment” Sterling Sharpe.
With sports betting now legal in eight states and anticipated soon in nine others, the tournament is expected to get increased attention from fans — especially since the weekend competition airs live on NBC.
Other golfers who could potentially have a shot to win include Stephen Curry, Derek Lowe, Aaron Rogers, Mike Modano and Colt Ford. And Alfonso Ribeiro is the favorite across the street at Harrah’s Center Stage with Arty the Party.
“Tony Romo and John Smoltz competing against the likes of Graeme McDowell, Aaron Baddeley, Mark O’Meara and Steve Stricker is a major factor in establishing the betting line,” Harrah’s Sports Book Manager Dave Cudney said in a press
statement. “It’s not necessarily a two-man battle because there are three other former champions in the field (Mulder, Mark Rypien, Jack Wagner), but Smoltz and Romo will be extremely tough to beat.”
Looking for his first win in 10 tries at Lake Tahoe, Smoltz surprised the golf world at the PGA TOUR Champions Cologuard Classic in Tucson, Arizona, March 1-3 by finishing 53rd in the field of 76 players with scores of 73-74-73. Smoltz is playing in the Mitsubishi Electric Classic April 19-21 in Atlanta, and in the American Family Insurance Championship June 21-23 in Madison, Wisconsin.
Romo broke through to win the American Century Championship last summer after finishing second three times. In late March, Romo played in the PGA Tour’s Coral Puntacana Resort & Club Championship in the Dominican Republic. He shot 79-80, missing the cut, but video of a recovery shot went viral, delighting fans of the former Dallas Cowboys quarterback. Romo, the CBS Sports lead NFL analyst, will start the PGA Tour’s AT&T Byron Nelson May 9-12 in Dallas, Texas.
In 2018, Mulder competed in the PGA Tour’s Safeway Open in Napa, shooting 75-74 but missed the cut. Smoltz, Romo and Mulder all play in the PGA Tour events as sponsor exemptions.
Season passes and day tickets for the American Century Championship are available at http://bit.ly/ACC19Tickets. Season pass tickets for July 9-14, Tuesday through Sunday, are available for $70. Daily tickets are $20 per day Tuesday through Thursday and $30 for competitive rounds Friday through Sunday. Two kids 10-years-old and younger get free admission with a paying adult. Further information is available at www.americancenturychampionship.com.
The American Century Championship uses a modified Stableford format and features a $600,000 purse with $125,000 for the winner. In addition to high-stakes competition, the tournament will raise money for the Stowers Institute for Medical Research, a non-profit research organization dedicated to improving human health through innovative study of diseases such as cancer. Regional Lake Tahoe non-profits also benefit from the tournament, which has raised over $5 million for charity.
— Tim Parsons