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February 7, 2018

Tony Romo

Pebble Beach, California

JOHN BUSH: We would like to welcome Tony Romo to the interview room here at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. He's the lead analyst for the NFL and CBS. Tony, first of all welcome back to Pebble Beach. If we can get some comments on playing this week.

TONY ROMO: Yeah, I think it's always a special week for everyone who gets to come back here and play and I've been here a few times and it's just run first class all the way. The joy that it kind of brings to a lot of the amateur partners is really pretty unique. I gets a chance to see the PGA TOUR guys and how special they are up close and it's just a great week. Pebble Beach does a phenomenal job of putting this on and the conditions are really pretty perfect this week.

JOHN BUSH: Exciting news announced a little while ago, the Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship in late March you will be a participant. I know you're very excited about that give us a little comment, please.

TONY ROMO: Yeah, I received an exemption into the Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship and I want to thank them. Just as an athlete I think you always want to play and compete and obviously I have a passion for golf and I've been doing it at different tournaments throughout my life and I just think it's an honor to be presented with that opportunity and get a chance to play with some of the best players in the world and get to test your game and see what you got.

JOHN BUSH: Open it up to questions.

Q. Obviously with the schedule the football season you probably don't have a lot of time to play golf, so what are you coming in, what kind of game do you have coming in and then secondly what's your best so far Jim Nantz story that you haven't really told publically?
TONY ROMO: There's a lot of non-public stories that I have for Jim, but as far as the game goes, in years past I feel like basically my story is like I played up until about three or four years ago then I stopped for -- I had a couple back surgeries and just tried to be smart about that and with playing football you already didn't play seven months a year really golf at all. So I started back up this last year and last February or March and just tried to take it serious. And when I say that I mean make it a point to make the routine and the schedule about that. So I started that last off season and then with the football season this year, going on, it was much different, it wasn't like it was when I played. When you play, you never touch a club. Now, you may not touch it for two or three days, but you still have plenty of time on the other days. And I felt like for the first time in my life I got to kind of have a progression through 12 months or 10 months and that was interesting because that was just different. I had never gone more than four or five months of playing of any kind. So that's helped the game. I started off very rusty last spring and summer and then I started to see some good signs here over the last month or two that I feel good about with the game. Hopefully it will show. And that's it, no Jim Nantz stories. A good Jim Nantz story will be -- there's a million of them -- I think the one thing that people don't know, maybe it's not a story per se but Jim is like, behind closed doors, is really funny. Like he's, I know he's got the voice of the Masters and he's, "hello friends" and all that and he's got that perfect kind of sound that we all like to hear. But when you get around him, I mean he's quick witted, he's funny, and he's a guy's guy and he's really enjoyable to be around. And if I could think of one of the jokes he told me about you I'll tell you.

Q. If I could give a public reading from young Jordan Spieth talking about you he said, he wants to beat the pros that are in his group, I mean, he thinks he can win this tournament if he played with us. Comments, please.
TONY ROMO: Jordan just set me up for failure a little bit. Yeah, I play with Jordan a lot in Dallas and he's been great. He's helped me with my game, obviously. I think that having an opportunity to be around a guy of that caliber and really just as a person too, but really he's just, it's been great to see -- I really believe you can learn through osmosis sometimes, just being around, just being a fly on the wall. I know that's not the case with him because I'll badger him with questions throughout his entire round and then make him wait for me as we hit three more balls to get it right. So his longest rounds are definitely when he plays with me because I make him sit out there all day. I do like to compete, I think it's enjoyable, I think some of the best things is to get out there and compete with them, it only makes you better. It's something that I really enjoy and I look forward to the challenge.

Q. You could beat him on a given day, couldn't you?
TONY ROMO: Maybe back when he was young. I feel like now I would have to play pretty good. But we're getting tighter every month. One of these days it's going to shift.

Q. Have you changed your practice routine or regimen at all since getting the sponsor's invite to kind of ramp up to actually play in competition?
TONY ROMO: What's funny is I was really -- it's funny you brought up Jordan a second ago because I really just try and copy him a little bit. I think if you're going to be good at something you got to really feel like you got to take the approach that it's got to be a routine, you got to make it obviously important and then you got to do it. You got to put in the time. And then you got to find the subtlety and when you get under the gun in pressure situations you got to be able to just rely on your natural instinct and feel, because if you're having to really think and try and there's so much going on in your brain you're not going to be very successful. So my routine has been pretty similar for awhile. I think this just ramps up your energy level. But as far as what I've been doing, it's been an analyst with CBS, when I wasn't doing that, it was trying to see how good you can be at golf. And like I said before, it was a bad first six months back this last spring when I started and then it, I saw the significant jump. So we're starting to play where I feel more comfortable on the course daily.

Q. You're in your late 30s now. Could you foresee a time or maybe an opportunity if you really ramped it up to maybe chase some type of membership at some point?
TONY ROMO: Well, I mean you got to go play. You never know how good you are until you go play and perform. Ultimately the -- obviously the odds going against these guys are not great. I think we all know that. But I think that's what makes it really fun and enjoyable. I also think that the challenge that's presented is what a competitor really wants. I think that's what you always want to be around or be a part of. I know it's about your own game and it's about improving, that's all you're trying to do is consistently improve and get better, but you can learn a lot being around these guys and competing against them and I think that does make you better.

Q. I know you played U.S. Open qualifiers in the past, but you also played in the Western last year. Describe the nerves from that week and what did you learn about yourself that week as a golfer that you could use to help benefit you in the Dominican?
TONY ROMO: Yeah, I think that like I said, I was playing some very bad golf for me last spring and summer and I was just getting started back up in the game and some of those tournaments really helped me because it kind of showed me I really didn't have a direction. If you're really going to do it you got to believe in something. You got to go figure out what type of swing you want and then you have to go attack it and you at least have the fundamentals to come back to and then go back and almost try and -- if you're always tinkering, you're always -- which is what I kind of had always done pretty much throughout golf -- you're always going to shuffle up, come back, go up, come back, and that's just what it is. You have to find something you believe in and attack it and get better. I feel like some of the tournaments this summer when I wasn't putting scores that I was used to in the past, I really felt like I needed just to start over. And then that's when I really started to try and figure out the routine and how to improve and then what kind of swing you really want, like what's the theory, what are we starting, what's the, who is the swing coach, what's this philosophy that I'm, my fundamentals that I'm going to go back to. That way you're not always just starting over. So I think that started the path of playing better golf.

Q. What did you learn about yourself and your game playing in this event previously and looking ahead to the PGA TOUR event what do you think you'll learn there, has there been any blow back, when Steph Curry got the WEB.COM exemption there was some chatter about whether he should and have you heard anything, do you expect to hear anything on that front?
TONY ROMO: I know a lot of these guys, so I'll just tell them get out there, let's play before a couple rounds and see what happens. I'll joke with them a little bit. But I think that if you play good they will respect you. If you don't play good, then you really aren't going to be respected very well. It's not rocket science. If you can hit a golf ball and you can hit it -- if you hit a 5-iron, you hit it 205 yards and you can put it to a back right pin and fade it in there, they're going to respect you. And if you can't, then you'll probably get some blow back. So I understand that. That's why you got to go out there and play well.

Q. You mentioned under emotion and under the gun, you need to rely on your feels. Do you feel any difference after your surgeries to regain the feel?
TONY ROMO: Yeah, with two surgeries on your back obviously it changes your golf game and as far as the way you can practice stuff. The biggest thing was I wasn't able to play much at all a few years ago. And then Jordan introduced me to his back guy, Troy Van Biezen, and their team over there in Dallas and that really started the path for me to get back into playing and being able to play and practice the way you want. So when that started, that really allowed me to get back to enjoying it and really starting to try and compete. And then this last year's been about improving that back and getting stronger and getting to a point where I can play a week, two weeks in a row and practice. So for me that was real important and that's helped me as much as anything, otherwise I wouldn't be doing it. So that's been big.

Q. Having not been on the football field for an extended amount of time, do you find yourself channelling more of that competitive energy towards the game of golf?
TONY ROMO: Yeah, I think I've always loved the game of golf, it's just you never can put in the time. The nice thing right now is just that, if I'm not doing anything with being an analyst for CBS, I tell the wife, it's like, all right, I'm going to chip and putt this morning at 7:30, we're going to go short game for three, four hours. So it's like a job when you're off. So when I'm off that's what I like to do and I enjoy the grind a little bit. And I know where I'm starting from. Obviously I'm not 18 years old, but I think it will be fun to really see how much I can compete and see what kind of scores I can put up.

Q. Football question, Tony, I got to ask you, three days after the fact, I mean what did you think of the outcome of the Super Bowl?
TONY ROMO: Yeah, just incredible offensive game. You see both teams and I think someone told me it was the most yards in the history of an NFL game, which is surprising, especially with Philly's defense and then obviously New England was really good scoring defense. But I think Doug Pederson and the Eagles staff put together an incredible game plan and they really -- I mean to be that aggressive that consistently throughout was, I mean that really is how you have to beat the Patriots. If you're not going to -- if you're just going to do things and they're going to be the status quo, I guess you would say, they're so prepared for most things that they know at some point you're going to get ahead and you're going to take the gas off the pedal and they know you're going to run the ball on first and second down. So they're going to, all of a sudden, and all of a sudden these guys are play actioning on first down, again on second down, another throw, fourth and one play action up the sideline. Things that people don't do. It's risky. Tight end goes up the sideline, it's a wheel route to a running back, if that guys's covered there's no play. And the coaches are saying, I'm going to get this guy open and in some cases they did. And then Foles playing as well as he did, just outstanding. And then Brady with the ball at the end of a Super Bowl, we have seen that story a few times and just didn't go that way this time.

Q. Would you ever, is this a one-off, Dominican, or would you consider either asking for exemptions or trying to four spot?
TONY ROMO: Great question. I think who wouldn't want an exemption into plenty of incredible TOUR events. I think for me, I think the PGA TOUR as well, I think everyone would like, we kind of want to see what happens I think more than anything. If I play well, I think that obviously allows you to have opportunities that can come your way. If you don't play well -- so it's like a free agent in football, you get one shot, hopefully you do well.

Q. Other thing is, you're kind of in your early days in your second career, but would you expect over time that you would receive more criticism playing or in broadcasting?
TONY ROMO: I don't think you'll ever -- I mean I think that coming into broadcasting everybody told me about all the criticism that comes your way. It's like nobody likes you, it doesn't matter, everybody hates every broadcaster, that's all you hear about for the most part. But it was overwhelmingly people were very positive when they came up and talked to me. As a player -- I mean, it's different because, as a player, there's 31 other franchises who dislike you. So it's like if you're not a fan of our team, theoretically they don't like you or at least there's a little bit of a built up wall. It's not like a golfer. Golfers, I mean, you can like them in Wisconsin, Texas, California. I mean, if you're not a fan of the Cowboys and you're in a different state or something or you're not one of them, you're not going to really like those players. So I find that a lot of the criticism, it's a lot, it's always a lot worse with players, because it's already built in. If you grew up a Steeler fan you already don't like the quarterback back for the Cowboys and vice versa. And so it's just par for the course. As a broadcaster they haven't disliked you yet until they hear you probably, but I think that there's no built up wall already.

Q. You had some nice reviews this year. I would be curious what do you consider your biggest blunder for the year?
TONY ROMO: Oh, that's a good question. I don't know, that's a good question. I haven't thought of that. Biggest blunder? Maybe that tie I wore in week four or five. Probably something related with that. That's what my wife would tell you, I promise you that.

JOHN BUSH: Tony, thanks for your time and best of luck this week.

TONY ROMO: Thanks, guys. Appreciate you.

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