South Lake Tahoe, NV (Sports Network) - Only four different golfers have won the American Century Championship in its 23 years. However, the most consistent player over the last five years is not in the running for his first title.
Tony Romo, who has three second-place finishes since 2008, is unable to participate this year since the tournament comes right in the middle of training camp.
Still, the four most prolific performers will be in Nevada on July 19-21.
Rick Rhoden, who last won the title in 2009, has a record eight victories in the American Century Championship. Dan Quinn, last year's victor, is a five- time winner, Billy Joe Tolliver has won the event three times and Jack Wagner has come home with two titles.
Even though Rhoden is the all-time champ, his play the last few years has been anything but championship-caliber. The former major league pitcher tied for the eighth spot in 2010, finished sixth the following year and tied for ninth in 2012.
To the average amateur golfer, those finish positions might not be all that bad, but those were Rhoden's three worst finishes since he started playing in the tournament back in 1991.
This is the second straight year Rhoden is not the betting favorite. Last year, Romo was the 5-2 choice and Rhoden was the second favorite at 4-1. Quinn wound up at 7-1, which was solid odds for a four-time champ.
This time around, Quinn is the 7-2 favorite with Rhoden once again at 4-1. There has just been two back-to-back winners in the tournament's history - Rhoden in 2008 and 2009 and Quinn in 2001 and 2002. It is interesting to note that those two, plus Tolliver and Wagner, have combined to take 11 of the last 12 American Century Championships. Chris Chandler is the only player outside of the "Fab Four" to win since 2001, having done so in 2007.
Speaking of Tolliver, he is the third choice in the wagering at 9-2, while John Smoltz is right behind him at 5-1. In 2010, Smoltz tied for second with Romo, Wagner and John Elway at 19 points behind Tolliver, who broke the tournament record with 33 points on a single day. Smoltz has faltered the last two years with a pair of ninth-place finishes.
Of the four top golfers, Wagner has the most enticing odds at 6-1. The actor has won two of his last six appearances and finished eighth in 2012, one point behind Mark Mulder (8-1), who is the only other golfer with single-digit odds.
The three-day golf event at the Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course begins on Friday, July 19 and ends Sunday, July 21. 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.
Who will win the 2013 title? It is tough to ride another golfer not named Wagner, Quinn, Rhoden or Tolliver. The lone player that could conceivably overtake the big four is Jeremy Roenick, who stands at 12-1. Roenick, who has two top-five finishes in four years, did not participate last season.
The choice here to win the 2013 American Century Championship is Wagner at the juicy odds of 6-1.