STATELINE, Nev. - Betting favorite Tony Romo and much-improved Aaron Rodgers are paired with Hall of Fame wide receiver Jerry Rice in the featured group at 10:55 a.m. Friday at the 54-hole American Century Championship at Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course.
Romo is the favorite at 5-to-2 odds. However, not everyone is convinced he will win.
"I don't know, Tony's a good player," said eight-time champion Rick Rhoden, who is paired with inaugural champ Mark Rypien and four-time champ Dan Quinn in the first round. "I expect him (Romo) to win this tournament a few times. He just needs to get in more tournaments."
Last year's winner Jack Wagner, who also won in 2006, is grouped with three-time winner Billy Joe Tolliver and the long-hitting Brett Hull at 10:15 a.m. Crowd favorites Charles Barkley and Ray Romano, two golf-lovers who failed the Hank Haney project, will be joined by actor Brian Baumgartner at 11:25 a.m.
Barkley, who has played in each Tahoe event since 1993, is the long shot in the field, at 1000-to-1 odds.
"I wouldn't bet on me unless you've got some money to waste," Barkley said. "No, I wouldn't put any money on me. You've got a better chance if you put it in a slot machine."
The tournament uses a Stableford scoring system that awards graduated points for pars or better. Wagner is one of four players who have played in all 22 past Tahoe events.
The event will be televised by NBC Sports Network from 1-4 p.m. on Friday and by NBC on Saturday and Sunday from 12-3 p.m.
Craig Smith is the former director of media relations for the U.S. Golf Association.