Tony Romo is a fantastic golfer, but making cuts on the PGA Tour is a different beast entirely.
In his tour debut, the four-time Pro Bowl quarterback-turned-star-broadcaster finished dead last out of the 132 players who teed it up at the Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship in the Dominican Republic. He shot 77-82 to finish at 15-over par and will miss the cut by at least 16 strokes, and he was a full 28 strokes behind leader Brice Garnett.
The week got off to a promising enough start. Romo, a +0.3 handicap, overcame an understandably nervous bogey-bogey start on Thursday to shoot an even-par 36 on his opening nine holes. After he made good par saves at 10, 11 and 12, the former Dallas Cowboy looked poised to get to the clubhouse around even par. But that's when the wheels fell off—he lost a couple drives to the right and played the next five holes in five over par en route to an opening round 77.
On Friday, Romo couldn't take advantage of benign scoring conditions and got off to a rough start. He bogeyed his first six holes and doubled the 18th, his ninth of the day, to turn in eight-over 44. He would rebound with two birdies on the back nine but also made two doubles for a two-over 38. When all was said and done, he carded one of those dreaded scores that start with the number eight.
Romo's struggles make the performance of Stephen Curry at last August's Ellie Mae Classic on the Web.com Tour that much more impressive. Curry shot 74-74 to finish at +8 and missed the cut by 11, but he managed to beat eight golfers who completed 36 holes. Curry, who sports a two-ish handicap, was playing against slightly inferior competition but did manage to post two sub-75 rounds while in the prime of his basketball career.
Romo's disappointing performance could ruffle the feathers of some who feel he took a spot from a worthy professional, but Romo played this week on a sponsor's exemption, meaning he occupied one of the spots the tournament organizers reserve for players they want to invite. Had Romo not played, the spot likely would have gone to another player without PGA Tour status.
Giving Romo a chance to tee it up with some of the world's best, of course, was a ploy for viewership. But that's exactly what sponsor's exemptions are for. His presence alone added a buzz to this opposite-field event—had he made the cut, it would have reached another level. Romo just didn't play well, at all. That's golf, and that's the only takeaway from his performance in the Dominican Republic.