Tony Romo ready to defend celebrity golf title at Lake Tahoe | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Tony Romo ready to defend celebrity golf title at Lake Tahoe

Tony Romo hoists the 2018 American Century Championship trophy after the tourney's final round on July 15, 2018.
Photo: Justin Scacco

STATELINE, Nev. — Tony Romo kicked off a big calendar year last July by winning his first American Century Championship.

He went on to receive high praise from critics for his color commentary during his first Super Bowl broadcast and also competed in two PGA tour events, although he didn’t make the cut.

He’s back in Tahoe this week where he is the co-favorite to defend his title.

Tony Romo speaks Wednesday afternoon at a press conference.
Bill Rozak / Tahoe Daily Tribune

He had fun with the media Wednesday talking about what it’s like to be the defending champion.

“It’s been a whirlwind just going around the whole United States, just going around as the champion here … That’s a joke,” Romo said cracking up the room. “It’s actually been great. I mean, the shocking thing is more people will ask me about the Tahoe tournament throughout the year than any other tournament that I’ve played in. And that speaks volumes to what everyone here at American Century has built. It goes without saying that it’s a prestigious tournament. And there’s so many people who want to play in it, and you feel honored and humbled that you get an invite. And to be able to compete and have a chance on Sunday is why you always want to play sports.”

Romo said he is constantly working on his game and winning last year only made him hungrier for more success, always striving to get better. He’s trying to turn his golf weaknesses into strengths.

He said competing in any kind of tournament helps gain experience and thinks that playing against the best players in the country can only help his game. But he isn’t sure if that leads to a competitive advantage.

“More than anything, just playing golf in golf tournaments is going to help anybody,” Romo said.” It doesn’t matter where you’re playing. Being around the best players in the world are always going to help you as well. It’s going to smack you right in the face when you’re out there and you see something you’re like, hmm, I don’t have that. So you’ve got to go back and work on it.”

Tony Romo poses for some photos Thursday.
Bill Rozak / Tahoe Daily Tribune

After finishing second for three years in a row, Romo finally broke through last year, swiping the crown from three-time champ Mark Mulder, who said his kids were disappointed last year when they didn’t get to go running out on the 18th green “to help daddy” celebrate.

Romo is expecting to vie for the title, but he knows there are several golfers in the field who could rise up and have a great weekend.

“You’ve got to play well to win out here,” he said. “There’s too many good players. It’s not three guys, two guys anymore. Obviously Mulder has been the standout here for a long time, so he’s going to be right there. But I think you find that you can improve in this game pretty quickly if you have the right teaching or if you’re able to make some small changes in your swing and all of a sudden things get natural and you’re athletic and you’re now able to use that athleticism.”

Romo said he is still way more comfortable being interviewed rather than the person asking the questions.

He relayed a story about interviewing Tom Brady in the lead up to last year’s Super Bowl.

“I walked in. (CBS said) Hey, we need you for this interview,” Romo said. “I was, like, I don’t know how to interview anybody. So (I ask Brady) how do you feel this week? (He said) Good. All right, Good talk. Any follow-ups anyone?”

Justin Timberlake and Tony Romo walk down the fairway.
Rob Galloway / Tahoe Daily Tribune

Romo will be in Friday’s premier group.

He will head out in the first round paired with Stephen Curry and Justin Timberlake, a group that will draw hundreds if not thousands of followers.

Romo said that they are friends and it’s not so much competing against them, but rooting for them to do well.

“We’re all friends,” Romo said. “It makes it easy. And I think it’s just fun to like root for guys and want to see them succeed.”

Jon Miller, president of programming for NBC Sports Group, added some humor about all three players in the group dealing with loud fans.

“I think what’s fun to see is both Tony and Steph have played in front of huge arenas of screaming fans,” Miller said. “So they’re used to all the noise. They’re not looking for quiet when they’re standing over a ball. The cheering’s not going to bother them at all. Justin, on the other hand, he’s a little more sensitive to the noise out there.”