Tony Romo received a sponsor’s exemption to play an opposite-field event on the PGA Tour this year. His next foray into golf is something he wants to earn.
The former Dallas Cowboys quarterback and CBS football analyst has entered the Web.com Tour qualifying tournament, which starts Wednesday morning at Lantana Golf Club in Texas. This will be the pre-qualifying stage, the start of a long road toward earning status on the Web.com Tour.
He has entered as an amateur.
Romo shots rounds of 77-82 to miss the cut in the Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship in March, the same week as the Match Play in Austin, Texas. He tried to qualify for the U.S. Open a month later, but shot 77 at local qualifying in Texas and didn’t come close to the eight players who advanced to the next stage.
The last athlete from another sport who tried to earn a Web.com Tour card was tennis player Mardy Fish in 2014.
Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry has played a Web.com Tour event each of the last two years at the Ellie Mae Classic at TPC Stonebrae. He has missed the cut both times, including rounds of 71-86 this year.
Eleven athletes from other sports have played the Web.com Tour. None has made the cut.
So for Romo, this might be the ultimate Hail Mary.
Johnny Miller will keep busy with NBC four out of the next five weeks, starting with the second FedEx Cup playoff event and into the Ryder Cup. He also will be at the Phoenix Open next year, which NBC will broadcast because CBS Sports has the Super Bowl.
After that, the 71-year-old Miller is not sure.
“It’s been 50 years on the road, and part of me is saying, ‘That’s enough,'” Miller said Tuesday to promote the Safeway Open in Napa, California. “I haven’t gotten to that point yet. They’re still trying to convince me to keep going. So we’ll see. I usually listen to my gut, so to speak, and my wife. Right now, I am planning on scaling down even more. We’ll see what happens. Maybe I will say, ‘Hey, one more year.'”
The Safeway Open, the first event of the new season, will be Oct. 4-7 and again is expected to feature Phil Mickelson, who most likely will be coming to wine country after the Ryder Cup in Paris. The tournament said Fred Couples would play on a sponsor’s exemption, while other commitments include Tony Finau, Brandt Snedeker and Mark Mulder, the former major league pitcher.
THE LONG AND SHORT OF IT
Adam Scott still remembers the reaction from his playing partners at Firestone, where he started with Mike “Sponge” Waite as his caddie. One look in Scott’s bag was reason for concern.
“They were worried for Sponge because it was his first day and they thought I had 15 clubs in the bag,” Scott said.
Two putters would cause anyone to wonder that. Scott has been doing that on purpose the last three weeks, carrying the long putter that he has been using almost exclusively, and a conventional putter that lately has been taking up room in the bag.
Scott said he has used the short putter once, and that was at Firestone, a two-putt from about 20 feet. Why the two putters?
“I’ve been working with the short putter for a couple of months now and it’s really good,” Scott said last week at The Northern Trust. “I put it in to try and hole a few more putts at 15 to 20 feet, which is where I’ve really been poor. And ever since it’s gone in, the stroke has just really gotten so much better with the long one that I haven’t really thought about pulling it out.”
To allow for an extra putter and keep 14 clubs in the bag, he took out his 3-iron and strengthened the 4-iron.
And he’s not bothered by hardly ever using the short one. He figures that in any given round, a player will hit 40 percent of his shots with one club (the putter) and 60 percent with the other 13.
“It is kind of a waste,” Scott said. “But as long as I’m putting well with the long one, I don’t really care.”
Scott finished third at the PGA Championship and tied for fifth at The Northern Trust. In those two weeks, his world ranking has gone from No. 76 to No. 38, and his position in the FedEx Cup has gone from No. 73 to No. 40, assuring him at least two more weeks in the FedEx Cup playoffs.
Brooks Koepka has come a long way from using a jet ski as an incentive for winning.
Koepka and Peter Uihlein were roommates in Florida while they were traveling the world on European circuits. Koepka was the first to win on the Challenge Tour in Catalunya in 2012. Uihlein was the first to win a European Tour event the next year in Portugal, and then Koepka joined him with three Challenge Tour victories to earn an instant promotion to the European Tour.
“We had a standing agreement that whoever wins buys a jet ski,” Uihlein said. “From a financial standpoint, we looked at it and thought it wasn’t a smart business move. Anything that touches water is not a good idea. The value diminishes right away. But it was motivation for both of us at the time. He has a lot bigger jet ski now.”
Most people would refer to the bigger one as a boat.
“That’s enough for me,” Koepka said. “It’s so peaceful. It’s my little sanctuary.”
MCGIRT’S PAINFUL YEAR
William McGirt ended a most painful year, and it wasn’t just because he registered only three top 10s — two of them last fall — and didn’t play in a major. He has been battling a left hip injury since March at Bay Hill that has troubled him all year.
“I’m not sure what hurt worse, trying to swing or trying to walk,” he said.
A cortisone shot allowed him to get through the summer, though the pain started to return at the Wyndham Championship and he knew the end was near. McGirt was No. 109 in the FedEx Cup going into the playoffs, missed the cut at The Northern Trust and was eliminated.
In some respects, it was a relief.
He plans surgery in the next few weeks to repair the labrum and resurface the bone in his left hip. Doctors have told him to expect to be on crutches for two months and not begin hitting balls for four months, which would be in late January.
“I’m actually looking forward to time with my family,” he said, noting his son Mac started kindergarten last week. “At least I get to be home and be a dad for a while, get some rest and get away from this stupid game.”
Mississippi State senior Braden Thornberry has won the Mark H. McCormack Medal as the leading player in the world amateur ranking. The award gives Thornberry a spot in the U.S. Open and British Open next year provided he remains an amateur. … With his victory in The Northern Trust, Bryson DeChambeau became the ninth multiple winner on the PGA Tour this season. … The British Open returns to Northern Ireland next year for the first time since 1951, and the response has been predictable. The R&A says all four tournament days already have been sold out. Fans can still purchase tickets for the practice rounds. … Brooks Koepka went over $20 million for his PGA Tour career last week with his tie for eighth. … Matt Kuchar has gone 12 straight seasons with at least one finish in the top 3 on the PGA Tour. He does not have one this year going into what could be his final event of the season.
STAT OF THE WEEK
Vijay Singh is the only player to win the first FedEx Cup playoff event and go on to become the FedEx Cup champion.
“You can say what I do is crazy, but at the end of the day, I’m the one with the trophy this week.” — Bryson DeChambeau at The Northern Trust.