Cowboy up: Tony Romo confident at Tahoe celebrity golf

Tahoe Onstage

Celebrity autograph seekers wait for their opportunity at Edgewood Tahoe driving range Wednesday.
Tim Parsons / Tahoe Onstage

On the field, Tony Romo was quite a fan-favorite during his 14-year tenure with the Dallas Cowboys. On the golf course, Romo feels better than ever. He sits at 4-1 odds to win this year’s American Century Championship, the ever-more-popular celebrity golf tournament at Lake Tahoe.

To do that, he will have to dethrone former big league pitcher Mark Mulder, who is favored at  8-5 odds to take the ACC trophy — a mission he has accomplished for the last three years.

“I’ve practiced more than ever and feel pretty confident going into this,” Romo said Wednesday at Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course. “But in the end, it’s golf, and it can humble you in a matter of seconds. So, I just need to focus and stay within my game.”

Romo and vet Andrew Bachelder.
Isaiah Burrows / Tahoe Onstage

Retired from the Cowboys, Romo, 38, now works as an NFL analyst for CBS Sports — when he’s not tearing up the links. Last weekend, he won the Racine Tri-Course Amateur Championship by nine strokes. That’s on his home turf, but Tahoe has become comfy as well.

Romo has adjusted quite well to the elevation at Lake Tahoe. He will be making his fifth appearance, and he’s finished second three times from 2009-11.

“There’s three or four holes here that you don’t see every day,” he said. “It’s a beautiful part of the country and it is special to be a part of the field once again. “

On the football field, Romo was an undrafted free agent out of Eastern Illinois. He leads the Cowboys in career passing yards (34,183), touchdowns (248) and completion percentage (65.3). Romo has a 78-49 record including six postseason appearances.

For CBS, Romo is an analyst alongside Jim Nantz, who handles play-by-play. Nantz helped with the broadcasting growing pains. Romo’s knowledge of deciphering offensive schemes and defensive coverages kept viewers wanting more.

“Jim made me much better through his ability to get you back into the game,” he said. “That rubbed off on me early and he’s helped me build on it. To have that guy as your partner makes my job easier.”

Romo will look to topple defending champ Mulder. The former Oakland A’s ace is swinging his way toward an unprecedented fourth consecutive title in celebrity golf’s premier event.

“I’m feeling pretty good about all parts of my game,” Mulder said. “I just need to play my game and focus on the little things as we go along.”

NBA Hall of Famer Charles Barkley will make his signature appearance at Tahoe’s shores. Dave Cudney, Harrah’s sportsbook director, listed Barkley at 6,000-1 odds.

“People buy his bets like it’s a souvenir,” Cudney said with a smile.

Tahoe Onstage

2018 NBA Hall of Fame finalist laughs at a cellphone photo of himself and a fan. Webber is making his first ACC appearance since 2006. He said his game has improved and he now has an 18 handicap.
Tim Parsons / Tahoe Onstage

Notes: Another retired player, the NBA’s Chris Webber, also has transitioned to the broadcast booth. “I just enjoy being so close to the sport again,” Webber said. The analyst said DeMarcus Cousins will integrate well with the World Champion Golden State Warriors. Cousins is recovering from a torn Achilles. “In two years, he will be one of the two or three best big men in the league again,” Webber said. … The 2017 Volvik World Long Drive Champion, Justin James, is a first-time participant in the ACC this year. James is ranked No. 1 in the World Long Drive rankings and captured the world championship with a 435-yard drive in the final round of competition. …  The lakeside course at Edgewood stretches across 6,846 yards. The three-day event is expecting a record attendance of more than 55,000. … PGA golfer Natalie Gulbis withdrew from the tournament due to a family emergency, ACC officials announced Sunday.

The American Century Championship continues to attract record attendance numbers with a packed lineup of superstar athletes and entertainers. The 29th annual tournament runs July 13-15.

-Isaiah Burrows

Tahoe Onstage

Charles Woodson fans Thomas Brannon, left, and Anthony Minjarez don Michigan jerseys. The Oakland Raider fans drove from Vancouver, Washington, for the chance to see the player who they agree is the greatest Raider of all time. Brannon attends every Raider home game dressed as “The Grim Raider.” Woodson won the Heisman Trophy and a National Championship at Michigan and a Super Bowl Ring with the Green Bay Packers. He started and ended his 18-year NFL career with the Raiders.
Tim Parsons / Tahoe Onstage

Tahoe Onstage

Speaking of Raider greats, Marcus Allen still appears to be in game shape.
Tim Parsons / Tahoe Onstage

Tahoe Onstage

World Champion Houston Astros fans, from left, Noah, Brenda, Zach and Frazer Dealy traveled from Texas to watch the American Century Championship. Last season, the grandparents completed a tour of all 30 Major League stadiums. Brenda’s favorite is Oriole Park at Camden Yards, and Frazer likes Busch Stadium. Arizona’s Chase Field has the best hot dogs, Frazer said.
Tim Parsons / Tahoe Onstage

Tahoe Onstage

Three-time defending ACC champion Mark Mulder is all smiles on the 8th green, as are his partners who celebrate making a long putt on Wednesday.
Tim Parsons / Tahoe Onstage

About Isaiah Burrows

Tahoe Onstage sportswriter Isaiah Burrows also is a general assignment reporter for CarsonNow.org, an online news source in Carson City. He is an incoming freshman at the University of Nevada, Reno, where he will pursue a degree in journalism. His favorite sports teams include the Golden State Warriors (since 2010, not a fairweather fan), San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Rams.

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