Barkley: Golf fun 'until you hit somebody in the head'

By Associated PressJuly 21, 2016, 11:28 am

RENO, Nev. – Leave it to Charles Barkley to capsulize the challenges he and others will face atop the Sierra this weekend trying to keep their golf balls in the fairway, away from the galleries and out of the water during the 27th annual American Century Celebrity Golf Championship at Lake Tahoe.

''Golf is fun, until you hit somebody in the head,'' said Barkley, the Hall of Fame basketball player who's a 6,000-to-1 long shot to win but still draws some of the biggest crowds at Edgewood-Tahoe Golf Course in Stateline.

Two-time NBA MVP Steph Curry, NFL quarterback Aaron Rodgers, singer Justin Timberlake and comedian Ray Romano are among the more than 80 athletes and entertainers who tee off Friday in the 54-hole tournament running through Sunday near the California border, about 60 miles south of Reno.

Curry, who finished fourth three years ago in the tournament with a $600,000 purse, will be paired with his father, Dell, who played 16 years in the NBA, and fellow Golden State Warriors teammate Andre Iguodala.

''I haven't heard my name called this many times in 14 years,'' the elder Curry said while signing autographs after a practice round on Wednesday.



Tourney regulars and Hall of Famers Jerry Rice, Emmitt Smith and Marcus Allen are back again this year, along with more than a dozen past and present quarterbacks, including University of Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh, Carson Palmer, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Alex Smith, Doug Flutie, Jim McMahon, Joe Theismann and Steve Young.

Others in the field include former vice president Dan Quayle, NASCAR driver Brian Vickers, Larry the Cable Guy, former ''Saturday Night Live'' star Kevin Nealon and Willie Robertson of ''Duck Dynasty.''

The Harrah's and Harveys Race & Sports Book across the street has made former pitcher and defending champ Mark Mulder the co-favorite with recently-retired tennis champ Mardy Fish at 3-1 odds, followed by ex-quarterback Mark Rypien (9-2), ex-Cy Young closer Eric Gagne (5-1) and Curry (6-1).

Barkley said he tries to help newcomers understand it's quite different than playing a round at their local country club.

''It ain't like regular golf, because there are people everywhere,'' he said during a recent conference call promoting the event. ''And like I say, most of the guys will tell you they're pretty good until they hit somebody. And then they get really nervous, because nobody wants to hit anybody.''

This year marks the 10th anniversary of one of the most infamous shots at the tourney where yachts and speed boats anchor along Tahoe's south shore next to the par-3 17th and par-5 finishing hole.

Actor Matthew Settle's slicing 5-iron on the 169-yard 17th broke a boat windshield in July 2006 – a shot playing partner John O'Hurley called a ''flaming whoopsie.''

''I've seen broken windows on golf courses before but never on a boat,'' O'Hurley said.

It wasn't that strange to former NBA star Chris Webber, who once won a $50,000 charity bet with Barkley on who would finish last.

''I hit somebody in a boat a couple of years ago and they threw the ball back out like it was a home run at a baseball game,'' Webber said at the time.

Barkley said, ''I just hit people, I don't hit boats.''

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Watch: Moore does impressions of Tiger, Poults, Bubba

By Grill Room TeamJuly 16, 2018, 10:36 pm
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Johnson begins Open week as 12/1 betting favorite

By Will GrayJuly 16, 2018, 5:15 pm

Dustin Johnson heads into The Open as the top-ranked player in the world, and he's also an understandable betting favorite as he looks to win a second career major.

Johnson has not played since the U.S. Open, where he led by four shots at the halfway point and eventually finished third. He has three top-10 finishes in nine Open appearances, notably a T-2 finish at Royal St. George's in 2011.

Johnson opened as a 12/1 favorite when the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook first published odds for Carnoustie after the U.S. Open, and he remains at that number with the first round just three days away.

Here's a look at the latest odds on some of the other top contenders, according to the Westgate:

12/1: Dustin Johnson

16/1: Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, Justin Rose

20/1: Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Tommy Fleetwood, Brooks Koepka, Jon Rahm

25/1: Jason Day, Henrik Stenson, Tiger Woods

30/1: Sergio Garcia, Francesco Molinari, Paul Casey, Alex Noren, Patrick Reed

40/1: Hideki Matsuyama, Marc Leishman, Branden Grace, Tyrrell Hatton

50/1: Phil Mickelson, Ian Poulter, Matthew Fitzpatrick

60/1: Russell Knox, Louis Oosthuizen, Matt Kuchar, Bryson DeChambeau, Zach Johnson, Tony Finau, Bubba Watson

80/1: Lee Westwood, Adam Scott, Patrick Cantlay, Rafael Cabrera-Bello, Thomas Pieters, Xander Schauffele

100/1: Shane Lowry, Webb Simpson, Brandt Snedeker, Ryan Fox, Thorbjorn Olesen

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Woods needs top-10 at Open to qualify for WGC

By Will GrayJuly 16, 2018, 4:34 pm

If Tiger Woods is going to qualify for the final WGC-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club, he'll need to do something he hasn't done in five years this week at The Open.

Woods has won eight times at Firestone, including his most recent PGA Tour victory in 2013, and has openly stated that he would like to qualify for the no-cut event in Akron before it shifts to Memphis next year. But in order to do so, Woods will need to move into the top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking after this week's event at Carnoustie.

Woods is currently ranked No. 71 in the world, down two spots from last week, and based on projections it means that he'll need to finish no worse than a tie for eighth to have a chance of cracking the top 50. Woods' last top-10 finish at a major came at the 2013 Open at Muirfield, where he tied for sixth.


Updated Official World Golf Ranking


There are actually two OWGR cutoffs for the Bridgestone, July 23 and July 30. That means that Woods could theoretically still add a start at next week's RBC Canadian Open to chase a spot in the top 50, but he has said on multiple occasions that this week will be his last start of the month. The WGC-Bridgestone Invitational will be played Aug. 2-5.

There wasn't much movement in the world rankings last week, with the top 10 staying the same heading into the season's third major. Dustin Johnson remains world No. 1, followed by Justin Thomas, Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka and Jon Rahm. Defending Open champ Jordan Spieth is ranked sixth, with Rickie Fowler, Rory McIlroy, Jason Day and Tommy Fleetwood rounding out the top 10.

Despite taking the week off, Sweden's Alex Noren moved up three spots from No. 14 to No. 11, passing Patrick Reed, Bubba Watson and Paul Casey.

John Deere Classic champ Michael Kim went from No. 473 to No. 215 in the latest rankings, while South African Brandon Stone jumped from 371st to 110th with his win at the Scottish Open.

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Spieth takes familiar break ahead of Open defense

By Rex HoggardJuly 16, 2018, 3:50 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – As his title chances seemed to be slipping away during the final round of last year’s Open Championship, Jordan Spieth’s caddie took a moment to remind him who he was.

Following a bogey at No. 13, Michael Greller referenced a recent vacation he’d taken to Mexico where he’d spent time with Michael Phelps and Michael Jordan and why he deserved to be among that group of singular athletes.

Spieth, who won last year’s Open, decided to continue the tradition, spending time in Cabo again before this week’s championship.


Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


“I kind of went through the same schedule,” Spieth said on Monday at Carnoustie. “It was nice to have a little vacation.”

Spieth hasn’t played since the Travelers Championship; instead he attended the Special Olympics USA Games earlier this month in Seattle with his sister. It was Spieth’s first time back to the Pacific Northwest since he won the 2015 U.S. Open.

“I went out to Chambers Bay with [Greller],” Spieth said. “We kind of walked down the 18th hole. It was cool reliving those memories.”

But most of all Spieth said he needed a break after a particularly tough season.

“I had the itch to get back to it after a couple weeks of not really working,” he said. “It was nice to kind of have that itch to get back.”