Most of golf’s elite will be in Austin this weekend for the World Golf Championships-Dell Technologies Match Play event, leaving the field at the PGA Tour’s Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship in the Dominican Republic lacking for star power in its first year as an official tour event. Thankfully, Tony Romo is still giving this golf thing a try, and last month he received a sponsor’s exemption into the event. The former Dallas Cowboys quarterback and current CBS Sports NFL analyst tees off Thursday at 8:10 a.m. Eastern in a threesome with Dru Love and Denny McCarthy.
“It’s about competition, it’s about just getting into your own bubble and creating an environment that you’re comfortable in and then going to do what you know how to do,” Romo said Tuesday, per Golf Digest. “Golf obviously wasn’t my sport most of my life, but I’ve put in a lot of time preparing for this, so I’ll be prepared to play the best I am capable of this week.
“I’m not putting in any expectations on myself, like you guys I’m anxious to see what that is, what level is that I don’t know.”
Like NBA star Stephen Curry, who drew a smattering of criticism after he was awarded a spot in a lower-level Web.com Tour event last year, Romo’s inclusion at this weekend’s tournament is likely to raise some eyebrows. But his exemption is apparently on the level and doesn’t violate the tour’s so-called “Mark Rypien Rule,” instituted after the then-Redskins quarterback got an invite to the 1992 Kemper Open and proceeded to finish dead last by 13 shots and miss the cut by 28 strokes. In January, a PGA tour official explained to Golf Digest that any amateur with a USGA handicap of 0.0 or better may receive an unrestricted sponsor’s exemption. Romo currently sits at +0.3.
Romo, who shot rounds of 80 and 82 at last year’s Western Amateur and missed the cut by six strokes at a local U.S. Open qualifier in May, doesn’t consider this a lark.
“I’ve played enough golf where I feel comfortable in venues with size and people around, that part of it won’t be that much different,” he said. “I’ll be treating it very serious, I think for me the approach I’ve taken, my wife will tell you, she hasn’t seen much of me over the last month, but if you know me at all I think you know that if I care about something I’m going to commit to it 100 percent, so, like I said, you’ll get the best I got this week.”
According to BetDSI.eu, Romo is a +900 underdog to make the cut this weekend (in other words, a $100 bet will pay $900). That translates to the oddsmakers giving him about a 10 percent chance.
Curry, at the time a +0.7 handicap, shot consecutive 74s but missed the cut at August’s Ellie Mae Classic in California. Still, he avoided last place, finishing better than four players plus three others who withdrew.