Tony Romo tries out, for the U.S. Open
Tony Romo is done playing football, for all we know, but he’s once again chasing a championship. On Monday, he’ll begin his second attempt to qualify for the U.S. Open golf tournament.
The first try came in 2010, when he made it out of local qualifying only to withdraw after 18 holes of the 36-hole sectional tournament because weather delays forced a conflict with Dallas Cowboys offseason practices (he shot a 71 in the first round). Romo, listed as having a plus-0.3 handicap, is one of about 9,500 golfers who have signed up for local qualifiers, with his 18-hole stroke-play event Monday at Split Rail Links and Golf Club, outside Fort Worth, Texas. He’s hoping to be one of the 156 golfers to move on to sectional qualifying on June 5 at 10 courses around the country.
A USGA spokesperson told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that qualifiers will comprise about half of the 156-golfer field at this year’s U.S. Open, to be held next month at Erin Hills in Romo’s home state of Wisconsin. The other half will be filled by pro golfers who meet one of the various exemption requirements.
At one point early in his NFL career, Romo said golf was his backup plan. He entered his second season in Dallas as the No. 4 quarterback on the depth chart, behind Quincy Carter, Vinny Testaverde and Drew Henson, and struggled during the early portion of training camp.
“That’s when I sat in bed and I just prayed to the Lord, and this was a very defining moment for me,” he said in 2016. “I was like: ‘If I’m not meant to be the quarterback here or play quarterback in the NFL, that’s fine. Then I’m going to go back and be a really good assistant golf club professional back in Burlington, Wisc.’”
Romo didn’t do anything besides hold on kicks that season, but he started 10 games in his third season and was named to the first of his four Pro Bowls. The incumbent assistant golf pro in Burlington, Wisconsin, was safe.