Former Oakland Athletics pitcher Mark Mulder defends ACC golf title, attempts three wins in a row
Former MLB pitcher Mark Mulder is the American Century Championship (ACC) celebrity golf tournament’s reigning champ and things are looking good for him this year as well.
Having swung his way to the tournament’s top spot the past two years, Mulder will be hitting the links to compete against almost 100 other celebrity golfers this time around. The tournament will be held July 11 through 16 at Edgewood Tahoe golf course in Stateline. Tournament coordinators hosted a media teleconference last Tuesday, where Mulder fielded some questions.
Local baseball fans likely remember Mulder as an ace pitcher for the Oakland Athletics in the early 2000s, but his biggest claim to fame might be winning the 2006 World Series as a St. Louis Cardinal. Although while growing up Mulder’s focus was baseball, the 39-year-old said he didn’t really start taking his golf game that seriously until after attending Michigan State University.
“I didn’t play a lot when I was there, to be honest with you,” said Mulder. “You’re in college … for me at that point, the last thing I was thinking about was golf. I didn’t really start playing a whole lot of golf until the A’s drafted me and I went out to Arizona and started spending the winters out there.”
There must be something about being an athlete who throws things that translates into better golfing because, according to tournament results, 17 of the 27 winners of the tournament have been either a quarterback or pitcher.
Mulder said there might actually be something to that interesting statistic, or it could just be a coincidence. “Oh, man, I think we’re probably the ones that maybe have a little extra time on our hands,” said Mulder. “I mean, I think the reality is when — I can only compare it to pitching, not quarterbacking. Hitting a golf ball and throwing a pitch are two of the more similar things in sports. I mean, nothing can really happen until you either pull that club back or throw that pitch…”
Mulder has topped the list as a favorite to take the tournament this year, but there are several other golfers on his heels to challenge him for the $600,000 purse. Another athlete who has been popping up as a front-runner in the tournament is former Dallas Cowboy quarterback, Tony Romo. According to Harrah’s Sports Book, both Romo and Mulder are favored at 3-to-1 odds. To put it in perspective, Harrah’s has Charles Barkley’s odds listed at 6000-to-1.
Mulder said he’s watching out for Romo and some of the other athletes who have a well-developed golf game. “Well, it’s kind of the same group of guys,” said Mulder. “Whether it’s Smoltz, Mardy Fish, now with Romo there—Rypien, Roenick, Jack Wagner…You’d have to think a lot of those guys are still gong to be in it. I don’t see why that would change. Everybody’s great competitors. I’m looking forward to it.”
Mulder barely edged out Fish and Wagner last year to take first place and a $125,000 chunk of the purse. Mulder shot a 74 in 2016 and an 82 in 2015. ACC uses the Stableford format of scoring, where points are awarded for the performance on each hole.
According to Mulder, one of the reasons he thinks he does well in Tahoe is by getting his body adjusted to the elevation. Mulder said he’s had experience with higher elevation regions by working out of Flagstaff, Arizona, so he knows how that can be a factor when competing in an athletic event. “That’s kind of my little prep,” said Mulder. “That’s what I do. I spend the week prior [in Flagstaff] so I have my yardages and stuff like that. And I play golf in the afternoons with a couple of my kids and a couple of buddies and that’s kind of my prep for Tahoe.”