Hall of Fame pitcher John Smoltz and defending champion and prominent NFL TV analyst Tony Romo have been installed as co-favorites by the Harrah’s and Harveys Race & Sports Book to win the 2019 American Century Championship celebrity golf tournament. (www.americancenturychampionship.com)
Smoltz and Romo are both listed at 3-1 for the 30th annual competition Friday-Sunday, July 12-14, airing live on NBC and NBCSN. Both played in PGA TOUR events this spring and will compete with the best players in the world again before July, a clear advantage in the eyes of oddsmakers. The other top contenders at Lake Tahoe are former MLB All-Star pitcher and three-time champion Mark Mulder (7-2) and former top-ranked American tennis player now U.S. Davis Cup Captain Mardy Fish (8-1).
“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,” stated Harrah’s Sports Book Manager Dave Cudney, who authors the odds for the legal gambling marketplace each year. “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.”
Smoltz, looking for his first win in 10 tries at Lake Tahoe, surprised the golf world at the PGA TOUR Champions Cologuard Classic in Tucson, Ariz, March 1-3 by finishing 53rd in the field of 76 players with scores of 73-74-73. The FOX Sports lead baseball TV analyst, Smoltz is playing in the Mitsubishi Electric Classic April 19-21 in Atlanta, Ga., and in the American Family Insurance Championship June 21-23 in Madison, Wis.
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 videoof an amazing 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.
Mulder competed in the PGA TOUR’s Safeway Open in Napa, Calif., in 2018, shooting 75-74 enroute to missing the cut. Smoltz, Romo and Mulder all play in the PGA Tour events as sponsor exemptions.
Others at the top of the sports wagering board for the American Century Championship include Joe Pavelski, captain of the San Jose Sharks, the third choice at 10-1, actor/entertainer Wagner (12-1), former NHL All-Star and NHL on NBC TV analyst Jeremy Roenick (15-1), Washington Redskins Super Bowl 26 MVP Rypien (15-1), former NBA All-Star Ray Allen (25-1) and former NFL All-Pro receiver Sterling Sharpe (25-1).
With sports betting now legal in eight states and anticipated in all but nine others, the tournament is expected to get increased attention from fans especially because the weekend competition airs live on NBC.
The American Century Championship is contested at the famed Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course using 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 like cancer. Regional Lake Tahoe non-profits also benefit from the tournament, which has raised over $5 million for charity.
Season passes and day tickets for the American Century Championship are available athttp://bit.ly/ACC19Tickets. Season pass tickets for July 9 – 14, Tuesday through Sunday, are available for 70$. 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.