Charles Barkley on tourney odds: 'Better chance of winning the lottery

Charles Barkley is 5,000-1 to win this weekend's American Century Celebrity Golf Championship in Lake Tahoe, Nevada.

An NBA Hall of Famer with a unique golf swing, Barkley has never finished better than 60th in 19 appearances in the tournament. His best performance came in 1995, when he bested current Milwaukee Bucks coach Jason Kidd for 60th place in the 61-golfer field.

Barkley has finished dead last five times, including in 2014, when he ended up 184 points behind the winner, former NFL quarterback Mark Rypien. He has finished second to last 10 times, narrowly edging out former Notre Dame football coach Lou Holtz for 80th in the 81-golfer field in 2010.

And people in Tahoe are still betting on him.

"We've taken a couple on him," said Dave Cudney, sportsbook manager and celebrity golf odds specialist at Harvey's Race and Sports Book. "They're mostly souvenirs."

Other notables to lose to Barkley: former NBA star Chris Webber, now a colleague of Barkley's at Turner Sports; actors Ray Romano and Brad Garrett, and pro wrestler and ex-governor of Minnesota, Jesse Ventura. Actor Kevin Nealon, Webber and Holtz are the only golfers to finish behind Barkley more than once.

In an interview leading up to the tournament, Barkley said he was having hip replacement surgery after the tournament and "the rest of my summer is going to suck." When told he was 5,000-1 to win the tournament, Barkley replied, "I have a better chance of winning the lottery."

Cudney has been setting the odds for the celebrity tournament at Harvey's since the mid-1990s. He says it's the biggest event his shop books in July and expects to take more action on the celebrity tournament than on The Open at St. Andrews.

"Up here, because it's the middle of the summer and it's the All-Star break in baseball, it generates quite of bit of action," Cudney said. "The town gets packed."

While most of the bets are small, especially on Barkley, Cudney said there have been some big wagers on the tournament in the past.

"I'd say the biggest was in the $10,000 range," he said. "There's a lot of ex-athletes and a lot of money."

Former NFL quarterback Billy Joe Tolliver is listed as the 7-2 favorite for this year's tournament, which tees off Friday at Edgewood Tahoe South. Rypien, the defending champion, is next at 5-1, followed by a pair of retired baseball pitchers in John Smoltz (6-1) and Rick Rhoden (8-1).

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers is 40-1, along with actor Justin Timberlake. Blake Bortles (50-1) of the Jacksonville Jaguars and Alex Smith of the Kansas City Chiefs (100-1) round out the active starting quarterbacks in the field.

Notre Dame football coach Brian Kelly is 60-1, and South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier is 100-1.

Next to Barkley, comedian Larry the Cable Guy is the biggest long shot, listed at 2,500-1.