Cowboys QB Tony Romo passing instead of putting
IRVING, Texas (AP) — Tony Romo took a pass on putting.
The Dallas Cowboys quarterback was on the field practicing Monday during the first day of organized team activities instead of on the golf course trying to earn a spot in the PGA Tour's next tournament.
"There was really no decision there. For me, it was just this is what I love to do. Why would you not choose that?" Romo said.
Romo had a tee time Monday morning in open qualifying for the Byron Nelson Championship, which begins Thursday just down the road from the team's Valley Ranch practice facility. The 18-hole round conflicted with the voluntary Cowboys workout.
"My coaches and teammates know that I would rather not do anything else than this right here," Romo said. "They know it because they see me all the time, and they know it because it really is the funnest thing that we get to do."
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said he was not surprised Romo chose football over golf.
"It's real obvious as far as where his responsibility is on him personally," Jones said.
Romo got his first chance to throw passes to receiver Dez Bryant, the team's first-round draft pick last month in the first of four consecutive weeks of OTAs. The workouts will culminate with a mandatory minicamp in mid-June. The first training camp practice is July 24 in San Antonio.
"There was one time when he was explaining a play to me, I really didn't care about the play. I was excited because he was talking to me," Bryant said. "It is a dream come true. I always wanted to be a Dallas Cowboy. ... I'm trying to get past the excitement and just get ready and focus on football."
Returning receivers Patrick Crayton and Sam Hurd both were given permission to seek a trade after Bryant was drafted. Hurd took part in Monday's workout that was open to reporters. Crayton didn't.
Hurd, who had thumb surgery in February, said he is "working as hard as he can" and can't predict what will happen.
"Tony threw the ball well, didn't putt well," coach Wade Phillips said jokingly.
The coach said he wouldn't have minded if Romo had taken a crack at making the field for the Nelson.
"All of us know Tony was here because football is first, and has been," Phillips said. "Tony has not missed anything since I've been here. ... It's not a surprise to me that he's not playing in a tournament that he had an opportunity. Really most guys with his stature and the way he's played, it probably wouldn't have hurt him certainly to miss a day here and have that opportunity. But it was up to him to do what he wanted to do, and he chose to be in practice."
Instead of possibly teeing off Thursday at the Nelson, Romo now will likely take part that day in a U.S. Open local qualifying event in Carrolton for a chance to advance to a sectional qualifier. There is no scheduled Cowboys workout to conflict with that round of golf.
Romo last week shot an even-par 72 at a pre-qualifier to get a spot in Monday's Nelson qualifying. He has also tried in the past to qualify for the U.S. Open.
"It seems like he's playing golf better now than he ever has," said tight end Jason Witten, Romo's best friend since they were rookies in 2003. "It's kind of humorous to us, you see a guy of his caliber and play the way he has over the last couple of years and still be questioned where his motives are. That's absurd because he's such a great quarterback and tremendously focused about where he wants to be."
Romo last season set team records for completions, attempts and yardage (347-of-550 passing for 4,483 yards) and had 26 touchdowns while leading the Cowboys to the NFC East title and their first playoff victory since 1996. His yards were the most in the NFC.
There were no plans to play any golf after practice Monday. And no regrets about missing the 18-hole Nelson qualifier.
"He made the right decision," receiver Roy Williams said. "Golf is just a recreational sport that you can go do when you're 78 years old. ... If I was him too, I'd stick with this right now."