The sports books can rest easy. Greg Norman at 100-1 didn’t win the PGA.
Norman would have been the worst for us," Imperial Palace race and sports director Jay Kornegay said. "Rich Beem was part of the field (10-1) so that didn’t hurt us."
Few if any had Beem, though Kornegay made the newest overnight golf sensation his eighth and final pick in a golf rotisserie draft.
"Hey, he’s the pride of El Paso," Kornegay said. "I thought he played well down the stretch in the International. I picked him out of the hat. But, I had Ernie Els as my top pick."
Tiger Woods, the overwhelming favorite at 6-5, came up just short in a stirring four-birdie rally at the end. Woods is the 3-2 favorite for this week’s NEC Championship, which features a world-class field including Beem. The PGA champ is listed at 40-1.
"Beem was really the best scenario for us," Kornegay said. "Norman could have killed us, but he was never a factor. Davis Love, Justin Leonard or Sergio Garcia could have hurt us, but nothing like Norman. Fred Funk and Chris Riley would have been part of the field."
Betting at the IP for the PGA was above average because of Tiger, but would have been more if the Grand Slam was on the line.
"It was okay, but nothing like what the Masters and U.S. Open bring into the books," Kornegay said. "The Ryder Cup will be good. Give Tiger credit for that."
Preseason football saw quite a bit of action on the Dallas-Carolina game with the line moving from Dallas as a 2Â½-point favorite to a 2Â½-point underdog.
"It looked like the Panthers were going to play their starters more and Dallas would be resting theirs," Kornegay said. "It was a big win for us with the Cowboys rallying."
College football opens its regular season Thursday night with Colorado State visiting Virginia. Kornegay’s best plays are Ohio State over Texas Tech and Iowa State as a 22-point underdog to cover against Florida State.
"Ohio State has a great coach and motivator in Jim Tressel," Kornegay said. "I think the Buckeyes are a sleeper for the national title and my choice to win the Big Ten."
Iowa State is expected to bring a large contingent of fans to Kansas City for its weekend matchup with the powerful Seminoles.
"The grass field and crowd support can only help Iowa State," Kornegay said.
The race book will also be busy with major weekend stakes at Saratoga (The Travers) and Del Mar (The Pacific Classic).
"Our progressive is up to $2,500 for our Super Saturday race contest," Kornegay said. "With baseball talking strike in less than two weeks, it will be good to see college football again."