He is notorious for having an unusual golf swing and overall dismal golf game, but Charles Barkley is a popular choice at sportsbooks this week.
Of course, the bet is not exactly a huge show of confidence in the former NBA star and current basketball TV announcer.
Bettors are getting 8-to-1 odds that Barkley finishes in the top 70 in the American Century Championship celebrity golf tournament this week at Edgewood-Tahoe. Those odds, from William Hill, started at 17-1 a couple of weeks ago.
If Barkley does finish in the top 70 in the 89-person field, a $100 bet wins $1,700.
Barkley told the media he has been working with a new swing coach, Stan Utley, and he has erased the numerous voices that were haunting his thoughts in previous golf rounds.
Utley said Barkley’s issues on the golf course in the past were physical.
“I’m not too worried about his ability to compete under pressure in front of a gallery. I think he’s got that figured out,” Utley said. “I’m humored by people that think he has mental issues with golf. Charles’ issues were purely skill issues. They have nothing to do with confidence, mental. He had some bad golf skills working that he’s improved.”
Former MLB pitcher Mark Mulder, who won three straight times at Edgewood (2015-17) said he would go against the popular betting tide.
“My guess is there are too many people who are doing that,” Mulder said, smiling. “I’d probably go the other way because I’m a terrible gambler. What everyone else thinks, I’ll just do the opposite.”
The celebrity golf tournament is Friday-Sunday at Edgewood.
Odds to win at Caesars Sports Book (William Hill): Mardy Fish is the defending champion, but two-time winner Tony Romo is the betting favorite at 3-to-2.
Romo had to withdraw in the second round last year at Edgewood due to a wrist injury, later revealed to be a broken bone in his wrist.
Romo said oddsmakers are “just guessing,” and that Fish is the favorite.
Fish scored a course record plus-37 points in the second round last year in the Modified Stableford scoring system, a 63 in regular scoring.
Romo added that 10 or 15 players are capable of winning this week.
“It shows you the players are just improving. They’re getting better instruction. And they’re working on their game,” Romo said. “You see a guy like Kyle Williams last tear just come out of nowhere for this field, but for those of us who know, he’s always had the ability to hit the golf ball really well. You’ll see another person like that sneak in. And it makes it really fun.”
Mulder also said Fish or Williams are among the favorites to win.
“It’s hard to go against Mardy. I don’t know if anyone really hits it better than he does from tee to green. In past years, I suppose you could say maybe he’d struggle putting at times. But last year he putted great, obviously. You can’t put up the numbers he did and not putt well. He’d be hard for me to not put money on,” Mulder said.
Active Athletes in the field: Stephen Curry, Aaron Rodgers, Patrick Mahomes, T.J. Oshie, Joe Pavelski, Derek Carr, Seth Curry, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Travis Kelce, Larry Fitzgerald, Patrick Peterson, Kyle Fuller, Kyle Rudolph, Robbie Gould, Kyle Lowry, Kyle Rudolph, Adam Thielen, Golden Tate and Andrew Whitworth.
Hall of Famers in the field: (17) Marcus Allen, Ray Allen, Charles Barkley, Jerome Bettis, Terrell Davis, Tom Glavine, Greg Maddux, Mike Modano, Jerry Rice, Emmitt Smith, John Smoltz, Annika Sorenstam, Michael Strahan, Charles Woodson, Brian Urlacher, Jerry Rice, Charles Woodson and Steve Young.
More notable competitors: Justin Timberlake, Travis Kelce, Tony Romo, Justin Tuck, CC Sabathia, Dell Curry, Larry the Cable Guy, Roger Clemens, Kevin Nealon, Mark Mulder, David Wells.
Two for 32: Jim McMahon and Jack Wagner have played in all 31 previous celebrity golf events at Edgewood.
First-time players: Derek Carr, Seth Curry, Sean McDermott, CC Sabathia, Michael Strahan and Andrew Whitworth
Female golfers: Kira K. Dixon, Dylan Dreyer and Annika Sorenstam.
Odds for the favorites:
Tony Romo 3 / 2
Mardy Fish 2 / 1
Mark Mulder 4 / 1
John Smoltz 8 / 1
Kyle Williams 8 / 1
Annika Sorenstam 8 / 1
Stephen Curry 12 / 1
Derek Lowe 18 / 1
Joe Pavelski 25 / 1
Jack Wagner 30 / 1
Steve Young partners with Therapy room at Renown Children’s hospital: Renown Health Foundation announced a partnership with former San Francisco 49ers quarterback and NFL Hall of Famer Steve Young and the Forever Young Foundation to build a Sophie’s Place at Renown Children’s Hospital.
The music therapy room, set to break ground later this year, is designed for children and their families to enjoy music and interactive activities during their hospital stay.
Young, a longtime Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals celebrity ambassador, has helped raise more than $1 billion to support children’s hospitals around the nation such Renown’s Children’s Hospital.
Fantasy celebrity golf: There are fantasy leagues for almost every other sport and now fans can make celebrity golf teams.
Go to ACCfantasygolf.com to create a team and a chance to win prizes each day of the tournament.
Fans choose one player from each of the five flights. There will be a winner each day. The winner for each day will win a trip for two to Edgewood next year including hotel and airfare.
On Sunday, the overall winner will also get a trip for two paid to Edgewood, as well as $10,000 given to the charity of their choice on behalf of American Century.
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