Column: Romo is still a better quarterback than golfer
When I think of Tony Romo, three things come to mind.
The first thing that comes to mind is when Romo fumbled the ball on the field goal attempt in the 2007 NFC Wildcard game against Seattle, ending in him unsuccessfully trying to run it into the end zone.
Second is the 34-3 loss against Minnesota in the 2010 playoffs. Romo had three fumbles and four of his final five passes were incomplete passes, ending in another underwhelming playoff run for Dallas.
The final thing that comes to mind is the perceived jinx by former girlfriend Jessica Simpson during the 2008 season. I'm not too sure, but I do not think her career has rebounded much after that season either, so do not feel too bad Tony.
Granted that last one was most likely influenced by the fine folks at ESPN, but all of these things have one thing in common: failure. Romo is known more for his shortcomings with the Cowboys rather than his accomplishments as a quarterback.
However, Romo has a chance to debunk the haters and prove that he is a winner by replacing the pigskin with a putter.
Playing alongside professional golfer Jordan Speith in the Pebble Beach Pro-Am, Romo looked nothing like an amateur golfer. In fact, Romo carried Speith for most of the tournament, which is unheard of in a pro-am tournament because the amateur is expected to hold the team back.
Romo looked nothing like he did Seahawks in 2007, nor like he did against the Vikings in 2010. He looked like a golfer.
During the first round of the tournament on Thursday, Romo finished with an eight-strokes under-par 62, while his professional teammate finished the round shooting even-par. On the par-4 fifth hole, Romo just missed the eagle put, but finished with a birdie. On the par-5 sixth hole, Romo converted the eagle on three great golf shots.
The following day, at the tougher Spyglass Hill course, Romo and Speith combined for a seven-under 65. Romo had five birdies on the back nine.
Going into Sunday, the final day of the tournament, Romo and Speith were on top of the leaderboard. The two shot a 68 on the final day, including a 15-foot birdie putt on the 17th hole for Romo, but it was not enough to keep the lead as co-champion teams of Brandt Snedeker-Toby Wilt and Michael Letzig-John Erickson shot a 65 on the final day. Romo and Speith finished tied for third.
Romo might not have won, something Cowboy fans have become accustomed to, but his performance was nothing short of impressive. If Romo could drive down the gridiron like he did on the fairway last weekend, he might have more than one playoff win in his career.
So, is Romo a better golfer than a football player?
Recent history dictates your first impulse to be that yes, he is a better golfer than a quarterback, but it is not that simple.
Becoming a professional golfer, let alone a successful one, is no easy task. Great golfers can spend their entire careers on the amateur circuit, never quite making the cut of the PGA tour. If they do, it takes more than one good tournament to maintain a professional career. There is a big difference between Tiger Woods and Mitch Lowe.
Plus, these guys have devoted their lives to golf. Even if Romo has spent a lot of time on the links, presumably he has spent much more time playing football. Although, he has gotten plenty of chances to play golf since he does not spend much time in the playoffs.
In the 2012 regular season, Romo finished third in passing yards with 4,903. That is more yards than Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Aaron Rodgers, to name a few, putting him behind only Drew Brees and Matt Stafford. He was also sixth in the league with 28 touchdowns.
Granted, Romo was second in the league in attempts and tied for first with 19 interceptions, but that is because the Cowboys playbook is ruining him. The Cowboys ranked No. 31 in rushing offense and have many holes to fill on both sides of the ball, a testament to their 8-8 record in 2012.
His decision making is poor and needs work, but so does his team. Romo probably still has another four to six seasons left in him, a final chance at rewriting his career of missed opportunities.
There have been many dual sport athletes in history. Bo Jackson played baseball and football, Antonio Gates played football and basketball and Michael Jordan played basketball and baseball (well, sort of). There has yet to be a two-sport athlete with golf, so maybe Romo can be the first.
However, Romo's immediate future is in the NFL. He might look better at Pebble Beach than he did at Cowboys Stadium, but he still has a few good years of football ahead of him.
The beauty of golf though is that it is the only sport you can still play competitively in your later years. Once he hangs up his jersey, we might get a chance to see him golfing on the pro-am circuits more, but until then, Romo will be a quarterback first and a golfer second.
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