Tony Romo had to cut short a previous attempt to qualify for the U.S. Open to make a Dallas Cowboys offseason workout.
Such demands are no longer an issue since he retired last month to embark on his broadcast career with CBS. Come Monday, he will be among the nearly 9,000 golfers vying for 51 exempt slots for June’s U.S. Open in Erin, Wisc.
The first step is advancing out of the local qualifier at Split Rail Links & Golf Club in Aledo, Texas. Romo is one of 117 golfers scheduled to compete in the 18-hole event, where seven golfers will earn berths to a sectional qualifier.
“I think I’ve heard of the guy,” quipped Mike Rausch, who is grouped with Romo.
Rausch, a vice president at Golf Etc., has caddied for Romo at a handful of tournaments and has played alongside him before. Rausch admits he’s curious to see the status of Romo’s golf game.
“He’s a pretty good player,” Rausch told USA TODAY Sports. “He’s hasn’t played much. He’s coming back from injury, so I’m not sure where his game is right now. From talking to the guy who works on his clubs and plays with him, I hear he’s putting really well. He’s always been a good putter. I’m really looking forward to it.”
Romo, 37, last attempted to qualify for a U.S. Open in 2011 before he put competitive golf aside in the offseason after a string of injuries. He most recently suffered a back injury last preseason that sidelined him much of the year as rookie Dak Prescott took over as the Cowboys’ starting quarterback.
Romo advanced to sectional qualifying in 2010, but he had to withdraw after weather delayed play and he had to take part in organized team activities (OTAs) for the Cowboys.
Romo’s father, Ramiro, competed in the 2015 U.S. Senior Amateur.
“I could beat him early on,” Ramiro said of his son in 2015. “But when he got to be a senior in high school and then in college, it was really hard. You can’t teach distance, and he can pound the ball.”
Split Rail Links & Golf Club is located about 50 miles west of Dallas. Ryan Finn, Texas Golf Association's managing director of championships, said the course could be a good fit for Romo if he’s indeed putting well.
“It’s a links-style golf course, so it’s going to take somebody who putts and drives well,” Finn said.