July 01, 2009
Tiger Woods and Tony Romo(notes) play a round of golf. No, it's not the set-up to a joke (one whose inevitable punch line is "and Romo fumbled his putter on the 18th hole"). The pairing actually happened this morning at the pro-am for Tiger's golf tournament, the AT&T National.
Normally, this would be a fine idea. Romo is a huge sports star with a famous girlfriend and a microscopic handicap. Playing with Tiger seems like a natural fit. But this practice round was played in Bethesda, Md., which is a stone's throw from the nation's capital. A Cowboys quarterback in Redskins country? Even Jessica Simpson could have figured out how this one was going to end.
Not surprisingly, Romo was booed lustily at Congressional by Redskins fans. However, there were a number of Cowboys fans who stormed the country club in support of their quarterback, many of them dressed in their Sunday finest (Romo's No. 9 jersey). This inspired a Twitter debate about why there were so many Romo shirts yet so little clothing-support for the hometown 'Skins. One handsome Twitterer responded: "There's no Redskins gear at Congressional because only Cowboys fans are low-class enough to wear jerseys to a golf tournament." (I kid 'cause I care. And because it's totally true.)
Dan Steinberg (who has been a one-man Woodward and Bernstein on this story) wrote that Redskins quarterback Jason Campbell received the biggest cheers of the day during the pre-round introductions, which begs the question: Why did Tiger choose Romo in the first place?
It looks like he had no idea that it would be an issue:
For him to come here to D.C., certainly I didn't realize it was gonna be THIS big a deal. He's a big golf nut, and loves to play golf, has tried to qualify for U.S. opens before, and loves to play and understands how to play. I've always wanted to play with him and he accepted our invitation to come out and play, which was awfully nice of him. It's gonna be a fun round, but also an interesting one. He's used to being booed. It is what it is.
Of course Tiger didn't see the inherent problem, that's not his job. Other people involved in the tournament, particularly those on the D.C.-side of things, should have suggested that Woods play with a hometown favorite and not a hated rival. For this fact to have gotten past dozens of people is like an expletive getting printed in The Washington Post because none of the five editors caught it.
In the grand scheme of things is this really that big a deal? Of course not. But for an individual who is as image-conscious as Tiger Woods, having the story turn into "Tiger and Tony" instead of "Tiger's AT&T National" can't be pleasing.
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