Quinn edges Rhoden for favorite role
By Steve Yingling
Tribune sports editor
The most dominant player in the American Century Championship over the past four years is favored to win his fifth title Friday through Sunday at Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course.
Dan Quinn, who has won three of the past four championships, including last year’s, is a 6-5 favorite at both Harveys Resort Casino and Caesars Tahoe sports books.
Six-time champion Rick Rhoden is the second favorite at 7-5. Three other champions are among the top six favorites, including Al Del Greco, 2000 champion, 5-1; Billy Joe Tolliver, 1996 winner, 8-1 (7-1 at Caesars); and Mark Rypien, 1990 champion, 8-1.
Actor Jack Wagner and Cleveland Browns’ quarterback Trent Dilfer are the only nonwinners to receive odds lower than 10-1 to win the tournament. They are both listed at 8-1 at Harveys.
Tolliver chuckled at odds ranging from 500-1 to 550-1 for Charles Barkley to win the tournament.
“Chucky’s my boy, I love him to death. But they could go 5,000 to 1. He has no chance,” Tolliver said. “If they made him a million to one, that would be about the only way he’d have a chance, because we’d all go into cahoots and throw it for him. But it’d be hard to throw it and still let him win. How bad do you have to play?”
Barkley addressed his deteriorating play at last Thursday’s championship press conference.
“I used to be a legitimate 10 handicap at one time, that is the thing that has frustrated me the most,” Barkley said. “I’d always shoot 82 to 84. I’d kill to get back to that number.”
Barkley said he’s tried about everything to eliminate the unusual hitch in his downswing.
“I got hypnotized last year, and all I got out of being hypnotized was a good nap,” he said.
Larouche is the hot golfer coming in
There have been four different winners on the Celebrity Players Tour this year. Former Major League Pittsburgh Pirates star Andy Van Slyke won the Stan Humphries Celebrity Classic by one stroke over Rypien in April.
Former Minnesota Twins pitcher Mike Trombley won the Dodge Celebrity Invitational by six points over Tolliver on May 1.
Rhoden ran away with the Saratoga National Celebrity Classic by eight strokes over Tolliver on June 12 at Saratoga Springs, N.Y.
In the most-recent tournament, Pierre Larouche outdueled Rhoden to repeat as the Mellon Mario Lemieux Celebrity Invitational champion on June 26. The two celebrity golf stars came to the final hole tied, but Rhoden double-bogeyed the hole, while Larouche scored a par.
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