Jim Nantz hinted last month that his NFL broadcast partner on CBS, former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo, could be playing in a PGA Tour event in the near future.
Official word came down Wednesday when Romo was announced to be in the field for next month’s PGA Tour event in the Dominican Republic – the Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship taking place March 22-25. This tournament runs the same week as the World Golf Championships-Dell Technologies Match Play in Austin.
Romo received a sponsor exemption into the event. This marks the first year it’s a PGA Tour event as the previous two years it served as a Web.com Tour event.
“As a professional athlete, the love and thrill of competition never entirely leaves you,” Romo said in a statement. “Outside of my family and football, golf is one of my greatest passions. So, playing and competing in a PGA Tour event is a dream come true. I am grateful to the Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship for giving me an incredible opportunity to test my skills against some of the best on Tour.”
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Romo, 37, is a +0.3 handicap and has attempted to qualify for the U.S. Open three times. He attempted to qualify for last year’s U.S. Open, but didn’t advance past local qualifying.
This is interesting news because the PGA Tour hasn’t liked the idea of tournaments using sponsor exemptions on celebrities. In fact, exemptions are supposed to be given to players who are trying to “make a living” playing golf, or who soon expect to be making their living playing golf.
It’s been known as the “Mark Rypien Rule.” In 1992, the Kemper Open gave an exemption to Rypien, the former Washington Redskins quarterback.
Rypien had an embarrassing tournament, posting a 29-over par and missed the cut by 28 shots.
Most professionals are likely OK with Romo playing in this event, though, since it's opposte a WGC event and out of the country.
"There will always be professionals who don’t get in the event that will be upset with the tournament's decision," said Southlake resident Hunter Haas, who has played in 125 career PGA Tour events.
"There is not much one can do about it. The obvious reason events do this is for ratings and local hype. I wish the best for Tony."
Former TCU golfer Franklin Corpening, who has played in three PGA Tour events, expressed excitment about seeing Romo in a PGA Tour event.
"Can't wait to watch @tonyromo do his thing in a PGA Tour event. Great guy with a lot of game!" Corpening wrote on his Twitter account, @FTankCorpening.
Romo walked away from football last off-season as the Cowboys leader in passing touchdowns, passing yards, most 3,000-yard seasons and most games with at least 300 passing yards.