Tony Romo, we feel your pain
Those who followed scores online during the Ray Fischer 72-hole championship on Saturday may have noticed Tony Romo got off to a rough start.
Eight bogeys and a double bogey on the front nine at Janesville Riverside Golf Course? A 10-over 45 on a course where players make birdies in droves? Shouldn’t Romo, the Burlington native and former Dallas Cowboys quarterback, be a good player?
Well, yes, he is. But there were extenuating circumstances.
After shooting a first-round 69 on Friday, Romo’s back gave out on his opening tee shot Saturday and he fell to the ground in pain. Instead of retreating, he soldiered on – playing the entire front nine swinging the club with only his right arm.
That’s right, he shot the 45 with one hand.
“They thought I was just stretching,” Romo said of his playing partners. “I thought, ‘I can’t move.’ I thought I could calm it down eventually just enough to put two hands on the club for a couple of holes on the back nine. I grinded my butt off.”
He was able to swing with both arms for a few holes on the back nine and even made two birdies, but he retired after 17 holes.
In April, Romo won the celebrity portion of the 2023 Invited Celebrity Classic golf tournament on the PGA Tour Champions, and he is a four-time champion of the American Century Celebrity Championship. But he is 43, has had two back surgeries and must go through an extensive warm-up and stretching routine before he gets to the golf course.
“I’m not going to be able to play much golf,” he said. “If you do the process correctly, you can overcome it. But you have to be activated and elongated, try to keep everything in balance. If I’m a little off, my back will just shut me down. It does that to protect me.
“I’ve been playing so good golf. I’ve been hitting the ball well. I’d figure out how to make it through five, six holes. I couldn’t swing with two hands. I just couldn’t. You can’t stretch anything. If you twist or reel, it grabs. It’s like your body locks up and grabs you and sends a signal to stop, don’t do this.”
When The Sweet Spot mentioned that Romo was drilled 200 times during his NFL career, he smiled ruefully and said, “Probably more.”
Romo said he will play in an All Pro Tour event in Illinois on Wednesday and is registered for the 122nd Wisconsin State Amateur, 17-20. July at Erin Hills.
“I’ll have time,” he said. “Usually this thing takes three to six days to calm down. It’s urgent right now. I just need to get the inflammation down. I’m just out of balance right now.”
Another Fischer note: Two-time champion Bob Gregorski and Kevin Cahill played together in the final round. Gregorski, 61, shot 65, which tied for the low score in the final round. The 63-year-old Cahill shot a 66, which tied for the second-lowest score.
“The best part of the story is that this is the closest we’ve both come to shooting at our respective ages, and we did it by playing with each other,” Cahill wrote in a message to The Sweet Spot.
Rhinelander’s Dan Forsman returns ‘home’ to remember his father
Throughout Dan Forsman‘s PGA Tour career, The Sweet Spot has always considered him one of our own, even though he moved from his native Rhinelander to Longview, Washington in 1958 when he was just 2.
We were saddened to learn last week what brought Forsman “home” earlier this month – the memorial service for his father, David, who died May 16 in Idaho at age 91 — because it meant saying goodbye to the family’s last link to the Northwoods. Forsman’s mother, MaryAnndied in 2020 aged 87.
Forsman’s parents were high school sweethearts. His mother was homecoming queen at Rhinelander High School and his father was Hodags football captain. They were married for more than 65 years.
“We used to go back on vacations in the summer and just have great times there,” said Forsman, who has lived in Utah for much of his life.
Dan and his brothers, Scott and David, returned to Rhinelander for the memorial service at Carlson Funeral Home, which has been in their mother’s family for four generations. Together they gave their parents six grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.
A busy week for the Badgers in professional golf
A dozen players with Wisconsin ties played on the various professional tours last week.
Thomas Longbella Chippewa Falls, the 2021 State Amateur champion, had a good week on the PGA Tour Canada, finishing T-13 at the Elk Ridge Saskatchewan Open. Longbella shot 64-67-68-69.
George Kneiser of Oconomowoc shot 66-66 over the weekend to finish T-21 and Harrison Ott of Brookfield finished T-27. Former Wisconsin standout Jordan Hahn missed the cut.
On the PGA Tour Champions, the Madison native Mario Tiziani finished T-23 in the Dick’s Sporting Goods Open. Fox Point native Skip Kendall finished T-63, while Rhinelander’s Forsman, in just his second start since the end of the 2020-’21 season, finished T-69.
In Guadalajara, Mexico, former Badgers stand out Griffin Barela finished T-31 in the Jalisco Open on the PGA Tour Latin America. Kaylor Steger of Mount Pleasant finished with the T-54 and Sam Andersen of Stoughton missed the cut.
Finally, on the Epson Tour, the official development tour of the LPGA, three former UW players missed the cut: the Madisons Bobbi Stricker and Tess Hackworthy and Emily Lauterbach of Hartland. Incoming first-year students Kate Brody of Grand Blanc, Mich., also missed the cut.
The US Open continues to bypass the Midwest
The United States Golf Association’s announcement last week that Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, Calif., has been awarded the 2031 US Open means 2036 is the earliest the championship could return to Erin Hills.
The US Open is scheduled to be held at Pinehurst in 2024 and 2029, Oakmont in 2025 and 2033, Shinnecock Hills in 2026, Pebble Beach in 2027 and 2032, Winged Foot in 2028, Merion in 2030, Riviera 201 and Oakland Hills’ only venue in Midwest) in 2034.
Six more US Opens are scheduled through 2044, none of them in the Midwest: Pinehurst in 2035 and 2041, Pebble in 2037 and 2044, Los Angeles Country Club in 2039, and Oakmont in 2042.
Will Erin Hills, which hosted the 2017 US Open – the last time the championship came to the Midwest – ever get another shot? The only open dates for the next two decades are 2036, 2038 and 2040. The Sweet Spot will be happily retired by then.
Tap-ins, lip-outs and double-breakers
One of The Sweet Spot’s guilty pleasures follows Wisconsin Golf Group on Facebook and get a pulse on the state of the game in our state through the members on that site. We were also impressed last week with the group’s generosity after its third annual golf outing on June 17 at Washington County GC in Hartford brought in $8,500 for the Wisconsin PGA Junior Foundation. “It was wonderful to see how everyone came together on such an important cause,” Thomas Pfeiffer, the site’s administrator, wrote in a post summarizing the event. … NBC’s coverage of the US Open was the most-watched edition of the event since 2019, delivering viewership milestones across NBCU broadcast, cable and streaming platforms. The final round on NBC, Peacock and NBC Sports Digital averaged 8.8 million viewers in primetime and peaked with 10.2 million viewers, up 27% from last year. … Father’s Day, the US Open and the start of the summer golf season combine to make June a big month for equipment sales. According to the National Golf Foundation, sales of balls and clubs are up 2% from a year ago and are still 51% above the pre-pandemic baseline (2019). … The Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations has invited the PGA Tour commissioner Jay MonahanLIV Golf League CEO and Commissioner Greg Norman and PIF Governor Yasir Al-Rumayyan to testify at a hearing on July 11. The invitation has been sent by the chairman of the subcommittee, Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Ranking Member Ron Johnson (R-Wis.).