Tony Romo's venture into competitive golf is at a crossroads.
The former Dallas Cowboys quarterback and current NFL on CBS commentator has tried to make a name for himself on the course since his retirement from football in 2017. Though his game makes him a formidable weekend warrior—owning a +0.4 handicap—Romo is discovering there's a major disparity between club champ and the top circuits.
Romo has played in three PGA Tour events the last two years, endeavors that have not gone well. The 39-year-old is 38 over par in six tour rounds, missing the cut at the last two Corales Puntacana Championships and this year's AT&T Byron Nelson, which was played Trinity Forest, Romo's home course in Dallas. He's also made it out of U.S. Open local qualifying just once, in 2010. He did make the preliminary cut at the Korn Ferry's opening stage of Q-School last fall, but did not advance after the first stage.
To be fair, he's had some success, winning the 2018 Racine Tri-Course Amateur Championship by nine shots and capturing the celebrity-centric American Century Championship later that month. But when it comes to elite competition, Romo has fallen short, a sentiment on display this month.
At the Dogwood Invitational in Atlanta, Romo opened strong with a 70 but withdrew due to back issues. Then at the esteemed Northeast Amateur, Romo—who received an invite thanks to connections with former champ Notah Begay III—opened with rounds of 71 and 79, 20 strokes behind 36-hole leader Garrett May. On Day 3, Romo was 11 over through 15 holes when he again pulled out. At the time, Romo was last on the leader board and it was not known if his back, which caused problems during his NFL career, was an issue. On Saturday night, tournament chairman Ben Tuthill did state that Romo's back was the reason he withdrew.
“Tony Romo has been battling back issues and tried his hardest just to finish today but could not,” Tuthill said in a statement. “I know first hand how much pain he was in. We greatly appreciate his participation and for being a true gentleman. We look forward to welcoming him back in the future.”
Given spots are limited in these prestigious events, Romo's WDs have garnered their share of backlash online. Nevertheless, despite his struggles, Romo plans on continuing this pursuit. Earlier in the week, Romo said he hopes to get a spot in the Western Amateur and will attempt to qualify for the U.S. Amateur at Pinehurst later this summer.