Tony Romo (Northern Texas PGA photo)
ATLANTA – Sometimes, Tony Romo will leave a golf tournament with a long list of things he needs to improve in his game. When Romo left Druid Hills Golf Club on Thursday, there was just one thing: repetition.
“There’s not one (area) right now that’s glaring,” he said. What he’d like, as the summer golf season gets started, it to find a little more consistency – to reach a level that would allow him to compete for four days.
At the Dogwood Invitational, something else stood in the way. After an opening 2-under 70 that left him inside the top 25, Romo had to withdraw in the middle of a 36-hole day on Thursday with back pain. Just as Romo knows his game, he knows his body.
“Tried to play through it but you’ve gotta be smart with the back,” he said. “I wanted to keep playing because I was playing some pretty good golf. Long summer of golf and I know how backs work, so you can’t push through.”
Romo is attacking competitive golf in layers. There have been sponsor exemptions, U.S. Open qualifiers and even Web.com Tour Qualifying School, but in the past two years, there have also been state amateurs, regional events and now, elite summer amateur events. The Dogwood fits into a pocket of competitive golf that exists below the realm of professional golf, and Romo has now found it. He also competed in the Western Amateur, another high-caliber amateur event, each of the past two years.
More than golf courses or location or anything else, the competition is what keeps Romo coming back. That’s not to say he doesn’t notice the details. Amateur events are largely held at historic courses. Their legacy is deep at their venues. The Dogwood was first played at Druid Hills in 1941. The club was established in 1912.
Georgia is like ground zero for amateur golf in the U.S., because of one man in particular.
“There’s a Bobby Jones locker right next to where I was upstairs, so it’s pretty unique and special,” Romo said. “I love the history of golf.”
Romo found the Dogwood largely by word of mouth. He pays attention to where good players play and what they say about the courses. He’s always looking for an opportunity to see how his game stacks up.
A U.S. Open qualifier or a PGA Tour exemption is relatable to a non-golfer, but something like the Dogwood, perhaps, doesn’t translate as well. Romo isn’t particularly concerned with what anyone else thinks about where or why he’s playing at this level.
“I just know I’m trying to compete and improve and get better,” he said. “I enjoy seeing – when I really attack a weakness – seeing it turn into a strength at some point, just like in football. That brings me great joy. This sport, there’s plenty of that you can find.”
Romo blends in well here. Standing by the scoring table Thursday afternoon as players from the morning wave were coming in, he traded fist bumps with opponents and wished them well. He signed a football presented to him mid-interview without breaking conversation.
In his first round, Romo played beside Garrett Rank, who is also a mid-amateur from another sporting world. Rank, who was in the top 5 by the time the second round ended, works as an NHL hockey referee during the winter.
Exposure to talent has never been an issue as Romo has charted this rise in competitive golf. There are plenty of great players available in Dallas, Jordan Spieth among them.
He has also paid attention to the small details.
“I think you’re always looking at talented players and seeing how they do certain things,” Romo said. “How someone might use the bounce on their wedge differently, certain shots into the grain, just stuff that you’re always trying to figure out a little technique to improve.”
Assuming his back cooperates, this will not be the last time Romo competes at this level this summer. He is scheduled to play the Northeast Amateur at Wannamoisett Golf Club in Rumford, R.I., at the end of the month.
ABOUT THE Dogwood Invitational
Tournament week is June 7-12 at Druid Hills Golf
Atlanta, Georgia. The entry fee includes breakfast
tournament days as
as special events.
The history of this prestigious event extends back to
1941, when legendary amateur Tommy Barnes
captured his first of five Dogwood titles. Evolving
the times, the modern Dogwood has produced fine
champions like Webb Simpson (’07), Brian Harman
(’09), Dawson Armstrong (’15), and in 2019 Brandon
seen also in our course renovations and set-up, our
relaxed tournament atmosphere, and our spirit of
Players are required to walk during tournament play
and may carry their golf bag themselves (push
allowed) or take a caddie. Caddies may be requested
in advance during registration, or players may
one on their own.
Player housing is provided on an as available basis to
, caddies and traveling
companions are not
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