STATELINE — Charles Barkley has withdrawn from the American Century Championship with a right shoulder injury.
Barkley will be on site, walking the golf course and signing autographs as well as interacting with players on the course.
“I was lifting weights and felt something snap. It was a freak thing. I tried it today and it was ‘no go’,” said Barkley in a press release late Thursday afternoon. “I’m going to stay for the weekend and hang out. The people here are fantastic. This is one of my favorite weekends every year.”
Barkley has a tradition with the Lake Tahoe community following the wildfires that devastated the community in 2007. Barkley donated approximately $200,000 to a local relief organizations and took 80 first responders to dinner during tournament week that year.
Barkley, who serves as a college and NBA studio analysts, is the perennial longshot every year at the tournament. He was a 500-1 pick this year.
“Charles is fan favorite. We will miss his swing but we are happy that he’ll be an unofficial host for the weekend,” said Carol Chaplin, executive director of the Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority.
Stableford was a good idea
This is the 11th year of the Modified Stableford scoring system at the ACC, and both Jack Wagner and Dan Quinn think it’s been good for the tournament.
“I think the Stableford has been a good idea, because it puts emphasis on making birdies,” Wagner said. “And, I think it’s also less embarrassing for players that blow up and have bad scores. You can kind of just pick up. It’s better for pace of play. I think a lot of times athletes, celebrities and actors don’t want to come up here because they don’t want to be embarrassed because golf can do that to us.”
“The one thing that’s made this event have the longevity is to make guys that maybe aren’t the best of players have as much fun as we do, and I think the tournament has accomplished that,” Quinn added.
Another thing that makes the format exciting is the three finishing holes — the 546-yard par-5 16th, the picturesque 169-yard par-3 17th and the 501-yard par-5 18th. The last two holes run along the lake.
“Certainly it creates the potential for massive turnaround at the end and whatnot,” Quinn said. “There could be a six or seven-point turnaround in three holes. I think it’s exciting.”
A golfer’s diet
Now that he’s no longer swimming competitively, Michael Phelps must join the masses in watching what he eats and counting calories.
After he retired, Phelps said there was a period where his weight went from 187 to 220 pounds.
“I don’t do that much so I know my body doesn’t need that much,” Phelps said. “But it is challenging, because I’m used to eating… everything and anything, as much as I want whenever I wanted it.”
The calorie counting seems to be working though, since Phelps is ringing in near his former fighting weight at 200.
Football season fast approaching
Aaron Rogers reports for football camp on Wednesday so he’s soaking up all the rest and relaxation he can this weekend while in town for the celebrity tournament.
“For those of us who’ve got to go back to work here pretty soon this is kind of our last week of freedom,” Rodgers said.
The Green Bay quarterback plans on checking out Friday’s Rascal Flats concert during his last few days of freedom, but he’s staying off the water.
“It’s a little dangerous, and there’s some wordage in my contract that frowns on some of the water activities,” Rodgers said.
So what’s in store for Green Bay this year?
“We’ve got a couple really exciting young guys. I really like our first round pick, Datone Jones. We picked up two running backs — Eddie Lacy and Johnathan Franklin — who have the potential to be exciting players,” Phelps said. “But I think we’re revamped on defense. We’ve got some guys who are stepping up and taking new leadership positions. Morgan Bwurnett just got a new contract, which gives him the justification to be the leader I think he knows he can be.
“I think we’re going to be right there when it’s all said and done.”
Preferred pairing When Shane Battier appeared in the media room on Wednesday, he was asked who he would most like to play with this week.
“Steph Curry,” Battier said quickly. “The guy is awesome. I played with him two years ago. He’s probably the baddest mofo out there (in the NBA) outside of LeBron (James). Hopefully some of his mojo will rub off on me, and he’s got an awesome golf swing.”
The future of LeBron
There has been a lot of talk in the media about where LeBron James might end up after his contract with the Heat ends following the 2014 season.
Los Angeles has been mentioned, and so has Cleveland by various media types.
What does Battier think?
“That is such a long ways away,” Battier said. “I know LeBron is going to concentrate this year, and we’ve got a shot to do something special (a third straight title) next season. That is going to take up all of his focus and concentration. I think he’ll look at everything and make a decision.”
Featured pairings for today
The pairing of the day will be the 10:20 a.m. group (off No. 1) of five-time champ Dan Quinn, two-time champ Jack Wagner and three-time champ Billy Joe Tolliver. In case you’re slow at math, you’re talking about 10 titles in 23 previous tournaments.
Other interesting groups are the former Braves trio of David Justice, Greg Maddux and Chipper Jones going off No. 1 at 10:40 a.m., and the 9:50 a.m. group of former pitchers Derek Lowe, Tim Wakefield and Mark Mulder.
Going off No. 10 at 10:35 a.m. are current NFL coaches John Fox (Denver) and Mike Smith (Atlanta), and current NFL analyst and former NFL coach Herm Edwards.