The retired Dallas Cowboys quarterback is stealing an opportunity from a real pro golfer or a promising young amateur who is committed to making golf his career.
And Romo, 38, is neither of these.
He’s nothing more than a dilettante, a former star athlete who’s taking a more deserving person’s place. As a former pro athlete, he should be ashamed of himself.
It’s the same thing: A cheap publicity stunt.
The organizers of the Nelson tournament in Dallas also should be ashamed of themselves for giving Romo the exemption.
“We’ve talked about it for years,” tournament director Jon Drago told the Dallas Morning News. “He’s tried to qualify for some of them, has had conflicts with football. Now we’re playing at Trinity Forest, his home course, and he’s not playing football.
“The timing just felt right this year.”
Yeah, the timing felt right because Romo couldn’t get in the honest way, through a Monday qualifier like the hoi polloi who have to scratch and claw their way in.
Maybe some fans think it’s cute and harmless and will be curious to see how Romo will fare. But I’ve covered pro golfers for years, and I have too much respect for their struggle to watch an amateur with an inflated sense of himself pretend to be a pro for two days on his way to missing the cut badly.
And make no mistake, Romo will miss the cut. At last year’s Nelson, the cut came at 4-under-par. Amazing players like Sergio Garcia, Ernie Els, Padraig Harrington, Graeme McDowell and Brandt Snedeker missed the cut. Romo also got a sponsor’s exemption last March to the PGA Tour’s event in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, and he finished dead last among 132 players at 15-over.
Yeah. The timing’s right.
Romo is a very good amateur golfer. In July he won the annual celebrity Lake Tahoe tournament. In the fall, he even made it out of a prequalifier for membership to the Web.com Tour.
This basically means if Romo dropped everything else and dedicated himself fully to golf, he might have a chance to play on the PGA Tour’s developmental tour. Might. But he has zero chance of playing on the PGA Tour. Zero.
And that brings me to the biggest question that needs to be asked. What exactly is Romo’s purpose in taking the sponsor’s exemption? To “test” himself? To bask in adulation and feel like a star athlete again? To get ready for the PGA Tour Champions in 12 years?
And why would Romo even want to be a pro golfer? It’s grueling, with constant travel and tons of pressure. In 2018, Romo earned about $4 million with CBS and he’s reportedly due for a big raise. His salary would have put him in the top 20 of last season’s PGA Tour money list alongside Phil Mickelson and Rickie Fowler. The Web.com Tour’s money leader last year made $553,800.
So Romo would either have to play as well as Lefty to make as much money as he does saying “Here we go!” and making predictions on TV, or he would play for peanuts in the PGA Tour’s minor league.
It’s wrong and none of it makes sense. Unless you’re a vain former athlete or an attention-hungry golf tournament.