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July 11, 2018

Tony Romo

Andrew Bachelder

Stateline, Nevada

THE MODERATOR: We're joined by Tony Romo and Andrew Bachelder.

TONY ROMO: Great to be back. It's a great week always out here. So excited. Appreciate you guys.

Q. Tell us a little bit about your game. We hear you've been playing pretty well. And the record shows that, too. You better watch out.
TONY ROMO: Yeah, game's starting to come around. Been playing pretty good here for a few weeks. And we're excited about the opportunity to go out here and play and hopefully get another one. We'll see.

Q. You made your PGA TOUR debut earlier this year. I'm wondering what you learned about your golf game from that week and how it's helped you going forward?
TONY ROMO: Yeah, I learned it wasn't very good at that time. I think that was number one. I was just starting the process of basically hiring a golf team, per se, and you get swing coaches and you get people around. From there you go attack it. And I just started right before then. It's starting to feel natural now. My scores have come down quite a bit. And it's been fun lately getting out there and seeing the ball go where you're aiming and just the ability to produce shots when you want it has been enjoyable.

So I'm excited for this week. It will be fun.

Q. The team you're assembling, the network that you're working for, CBS, of course, they do golf, a lot of great golf commentators and swing analysts. Is that part of your team, working with Peter Kostis and guys like that?
TONY ROMO: I work with my guys in Dallas and Chris O'Connell and Andy Traynor with the Plane Truth. We've done some extensive overhaul with the swing, which I needed. Took a while to get it to feel natural. It wasn't in Puntacana but it is now. We're starting to feel comfortable when I'm out on the golf course.

And the CBS people are great. They have a great golf team, Jim Nantz, the whole crew on that side, Nick Faldo. They're special people and it's like a family over there and I'm just a part of that family now.

Q. Your plans going forward -- as I recall when -- active pitcher, haven't you tried to qualify for a U.S. Open. In fact didn't you withdraw one year for summer stuff?
TONY ROMO: Say that again.

Q. You've tried to qualify for U.S. Open in the past. Is that something that you want to put on your horizon or on your radar screen for the future?
TONY ROMO: Yeah, I'll be doing that stuff in the future for sure. I think as I continue to play more and practice like I've been, the game just gets better and better each week and month. And that's kind of taking place over the last few months. And I wish all that stuff was coming up now, but that was in the past. But next year that will be a part of it.

Got the US Am qualifier coming up. I'm going to play in the Western Amateur. Those will be big events for me. So we'll go against some high-level talent in those.

Q. Give me some perspective on the swing changes you've made, kind of condensed and simplified for us.
TONY ROMO: That's a good question. The condensed version. Really just an overall understanding of what the golf ball does. There's physics involved. There's reasons why spin and why a golf ball draws -- and hands and the club head. And with TrackMan and everything now, they have so much data that you can really start to get beneath the game and understand it a little bit better and understand why you're doing certain things.

And then from there you just want to incorporate certain moves that really -- for me I'm trying to create a ball flight that's very neutral and still allowing the club head to be released.

In a nutshell, you want a square face that continues to go left, and -- with maximum power, throwing the golf club, letting it go, but producing little spin on the ball. That's your condensed version.

THE MODERATOR: We're joined by Andrew Bachelder. It's a pleasure to have you here and thank you for your service to the country. And he is a big fan of Tony Romo as a resident of Fort Worth, Texas.

ANDREW BACHELDER: I'm from Fort Worth, and we actually met at Jordan Spieth's -- Tony and I have a love/hate relationship; he just doesn't know it. (Laughter) I've been a big Cowboys fan for all my life. Kind of cool to sit here and do this interview with him.

TONY ROMO: It's an honor both ways.

Q. Both of you, have you been out playing practice rounds and how are the conditions compared to last year?
ANDREW BACHELDER: I was here in 2016 and I mean still the same thing, the golf course is immaculate, really. I don't think you could do a better job on the golf course at 7200 feet. It's really amazing. This place is simply amazing, really.

TONY ROMO: I think the one thing that I see that's really pretty impressive was just the greens. When you have poa annua, they can get spongy, if that makes sense, where a footprint can be in the ground one second and then all of a sudden it slowly will rise back up and you'll have, you know, the footprint there.

So Barkley walks near the hole, you know you're -- (laughter) that was Charles, I can see it there. But right now it's not like that. It's firm and fast. And I think it's outstanding, the job they've done to get it ready and the superintendent and the group here.

I think you'll see putting, which is always difficult here just with these type of courses, but I think you'll have a chance to make a lot more putts. It will be difficult but it won't be just because the line just moves randomly. It will be more because the course is difficult.

Q. Tony, your best finishes were second place here, 2009, you came in second to Rick Rhoden. And in 2007 you came in second to an actor, Jack Wagner. Just wondering how you can better those scores, try to beat Mark Mulder because he was here earlier. He's loaded for bear, wants to be a four-time champ. How do you beat him?
TONY ROMO: You've got to play good. Mark's a great player. He's worthy of winning this thing three times in a row. And you've got to play good. But that's why you practice and play and go out there and work on your different techniques.

I've had more time to do it this year than ever before. Coming in I feel confident and ready, but it's golf. You gotta go produce. And it will humble you in two seconds if you're not careful.

So just put in the time and understand what your fundamentals are and go out and play. Strike the ball well, you'll have a great chance.

Q. Did you get more golf in obviously in retirement this past year?
TONY ROMO: Yeah, I have. And with the football season ending, you're really off as an analyst. It's not like football where you're still in every day getting ready for the next season.

So for me I've taken almost as if it was a football offseason toward golf. So it's been fun and enjoyable. And I think that's probably why my scores have started to --

Q. Andrew and Tony, any qualms for starting on Friday the 13th?
ANDREW BACHELDER: Is that when it is? My dad's birthday is July 13th, so maybe that's a good idea. So there you go.

TONY ROMO: Good omen.

Q. Tony, you've been in contention for a couple of Sundays now. You won in Wisconsin. How does that psychologically compare to preparing on Sunday for the NFL and did that help you on the course?
TONY ROMO: I think it did. Mostly, when you're young in the NFL, you find yourself protecting a lead a lot in the second half, if you're up 14 points or something.

But what I found was it was difficult to play at the same level when you're always protecting. The game, at the highest level of any sport, it's so fast and aggressive in football that you have to make decisions and you've got to throw it six inches or a foot outside of someone's hand defensively.

So, in golf, the approach is mental. You have a lead on a Sunday, it's great because last week when I had it, it's almost like you're going to protect but if you protect, you'll start missing shots left and right and scores get away from you.

So you stay aggressive, but what I call it is like in football, it's aggressively take what the defense gives you. So if the defense is giving you the check-down, you aggressively take the check-down. You don't just predetermine before the play, I'm going to check it down and be safe so we don't turn the ball over when you have the lead.

It's the same with golf. There's my line. Let's aggressively hit to the line. You may take the line three yards over more, so that way you're protecting the lead, per se, but you're still swinging at it aggressively and taking it right to that spot. That helps, and I think it allows you to be at your best when you're playing.

Q. Tony, being here for your fifth time now, do you have any certain hole that is your favorite? And other than that what do you plan on doing after the tournament ends? Do you plan on staying in Tahoe and enjoying your time or just getting back to business?
TONY ROMO: Well, as far as favorite hole -- there's a lot of beautiful holes out here. I mean, 17's a great hole just because of the environment on the weekends it's pretty crazy. And if you're not careful you get hit by a football in the head when you're walking. (Laughter) that's unique to this tournament, I think.

But I think there's three or four holes that are just -- you're walking and you're like, boy, you don't see this every day. It's a beautiful part of the country here, and it's pretty special just to be part of the field.

As far as staying afterward, I got in pretty early. I was in on Tuesday morning. So we spend time, we hang out. I've got family and friends. It's one of our favorite weeks of the year. And American Century does an incredible job putting this on, and the events and everything at night. They're really fun. Get to hang out and have some Coronas with some people that you meet for the first time sometimes.

The whole thing is just a really great week. I'll leave Sunday night right after. I have the US Am qualifier on Monday morning. I have to tee off early Monday morning.

Q. Andrew, what was it like playing with George Bush in the Warrior Open?
ANDREW BACHELDER: I haven't actually played with him. But let's see. I holed out from a bunker in 2015 when I won it. So that was pretty neat.

And then this year I was -- I think I 3- or 4-putted right in front of him. I had the lead at the time and I had a putt to go 3- or 4-under during the tournament. And I three-jacked it. It was nice. I think I got nervous for a moment and then calmed down.

But it would be great to play with him, yeah. I hear he likes to play fast. I think Tony's played with him.

TONY ROMO: The fastest you've ever seen.

ANDREW BACHELDER: If you're under 2:30 you're good; if you're over 2:30 you better get out of the way, I think.

Q. Tony, switching the subject to the NFL, as an analyst, what did you think of the Philadelphia Eagles Super Bowl win?
TONY ROMO: It was impressive.

Q. And the Phillies special.
TONY ROMO: Yeah, all of it. That coaching staff did an outstanding job. Doug Pederson, just an incredible run. Losing your quarterback, to go do that, it's really uniquely -- I think anytime those teams are in the Super Bowl it's a great season. But to win it and have your quarterback go down, that's a hard, difficult thing. You only see that happen once in a blue moon.

You've got to give them credit for a coaching staff to put together a new plan that was completely different in a lot of ways as the playoffs started. And that gave teams trouble.

It was almost like they didn't have tape on Nick Foles and that allowed them to almost really start the season off schematically. And that's a coaching staff that makes a complete change in, not everything, but five, six, seven important plays in the game is a lot when you've played a full season and you've got to get guys on the same page in big games. So really impressive.

Q. Have you had a chance to listen to the entire Jason Kelce Super Bowl parade speech?
TONY ROMO: I haven't.

Q. Both y'all have naturally a big passion for golf. Tony obviously passion for golf away from football. Andrew, golf saved your life. We all know the story. And you also are now a golf instructor. So can both y'all comment a little bit just about the passion for the game and the passion for playing here from your perspective, from a football player playing golf, and then your perspective, from it saving your life and now inspiring other players to play?
ANDREW BACHELDER: Beginning, when I was a kid, I would watch this tournament on TV. And like, oh, man, how cool would it be to play in this event up in Tahoe?

Well, my father owned a condo up here in 2000. I came and lived here for a year after high school from Fort Worth and watched the tournament. But then I went off to the military.

So for me, when golf saved my life and the American Century joining with the President Bush Center and giving us this opportunity to play in this event is -- I was talking with a caddie today and we were walking down 18. And he's like, you know, it's totally different.

Compare it from the celebrities who get invited to this, now you have a wounded veteran that's becoming -- and this is helping the veterans around the world and around the country know that there's more to life with golf and golf can help you a lot -- psychologically, mentally, physically. It's just an overall sport. Because you're battling yourself. And you battle yourself every day in life. So battling yourself on the golf course is a little bit better, too.

That's my perspective on it. I'm honored to be here. And I'm playing this for all the guys that have not returned home and every veteran out there that's struggling with something, this is for you guys.

This is to let you guys know that there is no -- you don't have to quit, you know what I'm saying? No quitting. Just keep going. That's why I'm standing here today is playing for you guys.

Q. Tony, as far as what you learned in your first year in the broadcast booth, last year, what would be the top three takeaways you think that you might have been surprised by?
TONY ROMO: That's a good question. There's a ton of things. When you go out there, you really don't know what you're getting into.

I think the first time I did a practice game, it was just figuring out when to talk or when not to. And the subtleness of that seemed obvious to a viewer, but when you're up there you're, like, oh, Jim, it's third and four. There's an analyst and a play-by-play guy and you have both separate. But me and Jim kind of talked throughout it, too.

So we've kind of morphed it a little bit where we just like to have a conversation. We both have roles, but I think if you look closely, you're bridging that a little bit to a group that just enjoys each other's company.

You want to make it seem like we're here sitting here talking and you're watching the game on your couch at home. And you're excited about this play. If you have knowledge about it, you talk about it.

The funny thing is working with Jim Nantz made me much better much faster simply because of his talent level and ability to, like, get right back to something super fast or come back with a question right away or I might say something and he builds on it and just keeps it going because he understands where to go with it.

And there's so many production meetings and things that you're a part of and you're interviewing teams, and then Jim has so much history with all these guys and all the teams, that he almost could do a game by himself in some ways. And just to have that guy as your partner makes my job really a lot easier, it does.

Q. Dovetailing off that, do you have any good Jim Nantz golf anecdotes? I'm sure you guys have played. Is there a good Jim Nantz golf story you have?
TONY ROMO: There's probably no good one. I don't mean to say that to be -- but Jim is, like, really good at golf. He just doesn't play a lot because he's so busy and works so hard. But he's really good at it. He went to Houston to play golf. And I don't know if people -- they know he was there with Fred Couples and I think Blaine McCallister, I want to say. But that was the program back then. They won like everything in golf. And so to get a college scholarship and go play golf there was unbelievable.

And then his swing still looks pure to this day. He steps up. And I enjoy being around him because he knows so much history about sports in general, golf, obviously.

And then he can tell stories for hours. And it's just enjoyable to listen. You're listening about Ken Venturi. And for golf aficionados it's really a special time to enjoy being around him and listening.


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