Alonzo Mourning takes Barkley bait, can’t wait to take Hall of Famer’s money |

Alonzo Mourning takes Barkley bait, can’t wait to take Hall of Famer’s money

Even though Alonzo Mourning has yet to play in an American Century Championship, he isn’t the least bit concerned about beating one celebrity in the 75-player field.

Barkley has 14 championships under his belt and a modified golf swing going into the July 14-19 event at Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course. The NBA Hall of Famer recently talked openly about recruiting Mourning for the 54-hole tournament.

Mourning isn’t buying any kind of Barkley transformation and becoming a potential victim of his on the golf course.

“Who’s he kidding? Charles is walking comic relief,” Mourning said during a teleconference Wednesday promoting the South Shore’s biggest sports event. “I think come Tahoe time that will pretty explain the level of play between Charles and myself.

“I know how he plays in front of people. I like my chances regardless of what Hank Haney has done for him.”

Haney, the swing coach for Tiger Woods, recently wrapped up a reality show where he tried to improve Barkley’s stop-and-hitch swing.

Barkley might want to reconsider wagering with Mourning since the two-time NBA defensive player of the year is a member of five golf clubs in South Florida and plays regularly.

“I don’t think Charles stands a chance out there. I know Charles likes gambling, so I’m going to make a couple of sidebets with him,” Mourning promised.

Barkley is listed at 499-1 to win the tournament, while Mourning debuts at 100-1, according to odds at Harveys/Harrah’s Race and Sports Book.

Mourning isn’t worried about the shock factor of playing in his first ACC. He has tournament experience, having played in Michael Jordan’s event in the Bahamas.

“I was partnered with John Elway, and we finished on the leader board the first day,” Mourning said. “The second day we couldn’t make any putts and ended up at 7 under.”

At 6-foot-10, Mourning will be the third tallest to participate in the tournament. “The Admiral” David Robinson leads the way at 7-1, followed by Bill Laimbeer at 6-11 and then Mourning and Chris Webber at 6-10.

“If I played this game for a living, I’d be homeless,” Mourning said. “I’ve been practicing the past 3 1/2 years and playing quite often … one of the benefits of playing in South Florida,” Mourning said. “I’m not going to embarrass myself.”

Aside from Webber, NBA centers have fared well in the tournament. Laimbeer was runner-up in the 1991 event, while Robinson averaged a score of 90 in his two rounds in 1994.

Webber, on the other hand, nearly doubled a round of par in 2002, shooting a whopping 71-over 143. He also shot a 142 during that same tournament. The former Sacramento Kings’ star hasn’t returned since 2006 when he defeated Barkley by one point in the Stableford format, the current scoring method for the tournament.

“Chris shot 130 or something like that, so they were perfect together. I don’t want any part of a group like that, because that tends to be a little contagious,” Mourning said.

Houston Rockets’ forward Shane Battier, who also participated in Wednesday’s teleconference, isn’t losing any sleep over the possibility of Barkley beating him.

“I try to avoid any comparison to Charles Barkley,” Battier said. “I’m a 19 handicap right now, and I keep improving.

“Charles’ swing, it’s like watching a bad jump shot. You don’t want to watch it, because you don’t want any negative thoughts creeping into your swing.”

Note: Mourning was busy on another front on Wednesday. Florida Gov. Charlie Crist signed a kidney transplant bill named for Mourning, who is a kidney transplant recipient.

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