Stateline, NV (Sports Network) - The Rick Rhoden dynasty has officially
ended. The former Major League pitcher and eight-time American Century
Championship winner has posted his two worst finishes (a tie for eighth
followed by sixth place) the last two years in the most famous celebrity golf
tournament in the country.
In fact, he is not even favored to win this year's event. That honor belongs
to Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo. Romo was installed as the 5-2 betting
choice with Rhoden next in line at 4-1. Those two are followed by the 2010
winner Billy Joe Tolliver (9-2), and then John Smoltz (5-1). Four-time
tournament winner Dan Quinn is 7-1 while defending champion Jack Wagner and
Jeremy Roenick (tied for third last year) are next at 8-1.
The three-day golf event at the Edgewood Golf Course begins on Friday, July 20
and ends Sunday, July 22. The point totals for the 54-hole tournament are
based on a modified Stableford scoring system with the higher total the
better. Players receive 10 points for a double eagle, eight for a hole-in-one,
six for an eagle, three for a birdie, and one for par. Golfers also get zero
for a bogey and a minus two for a double-bogey or higher.
In the nine years the Stableford scoring format has been in use, Rhoden has
won three times (2003, 2008, 2009), Tolliver (2005 and 2010) and Wagner (2006
and 2011) have taken the crown twice, while Quinn (2004) and Chris Chandler
(2007) have each tasted victory once.
Four golfers - John Elway, Wagner, Mike Eruzione, and Jim McMahon - have taken
part in all 22 matchups over the years. Wagner, the lone winner of the four,
has the strongest 2010-11 total of anyone in the competition with a win and a
tie for second. Romo is next with back-to-back second-place finishes, by
himself last year and in a tie with Wagner in 2010. In fact, Romo has now been
a bridesmaid the last three years after a tie for third in his initial start
at Lake Tahoe back in 2008.
Speaking of Romo, he will see a lot of friendly faces for the first time in
the tournament. Two of this year's new entrants are teammates Jason Witten and
Miles Austin. Other newcomers to the field are quarterbacks Ryan Fitzpatrick,
Alex Smith, and Christian Ponder, as well as head coaches Urban Meyer and Sean
Fitzpatrick (15-1) is getting the most respect of all the first-timers with
Witten, Ponder, and Payton next at 30-1.
Who will win the 2012 title? It's tough to go against Romo as he is in prime
position to win for the first time. Rhoden is on the down side, Tolliver was
never in the hunt last year finishing in a tie for 13th, Smoltz has only one
top-six finish, and Quinn has been a non-factor the last two years.
In addition, Wagner finished in a tie for seventh in 2007, the year after
winning his first championship so don't expect him to win two years in a row.
Jeremy Roenick, the only other golfer with odds below 10-1, had his best
finish last year (a third-place tie) but was still 11 points behind Romo for
One long shot to keep in mind is Oliver Hudson. the son of actress Goldie
Hawn. Hudson tied Romo for the top point total in last year's second day with
a 27 and wound up fifth. That performance was a huge jump from 27th the year
before and 25th in 2009. Hudson is a healthy 20-1 to win his first American
Century Championship crown.
The Sports Network