Part of our 18 Day Masters Preview
I always get a kick out of the all the stories about pro athletes who “could’ve been pro golfers”, or “might become pro golfers when they retire”…nice story, bro, but the truth is, 0% of them could actually do it. Tony Romo’s weekend is the latest reminder of just how ridiculous this notion is.
If you don’t know, Romo went out this weekend and played in a PGA tour event in Punta Cana, DR. He shot 77-82 and missed the cut, finishing dead last, and in some circles has been laughed at. I’m not here to criticize Romo…I actually am kind of impressed with that showing. The fact that anyone thinks he could’ve done better is what is laughable.
Romo is the’s crème of the crop when it comes to non-golfers golfing. Romo’s current USGA Handicap is listed at +.3- that’s better than scratch. Professional golfers don’t use handicaps, but I’ve read that if scores were submitted in the same fashion as amateurs, Tiger Woods would be about +1.8. So it stands to reason, as some would argue, that Romo, only being 1.5 strokes off Tiger, should for certain at least be able to compete on Tour…right???
Not so fast my friend!
First off, the handicap issue is a total a red herring. Or yarn spinning. Or a strawman. I don’t fully grasp the correct context of any of these, so just figure I’ll use em all. It’s bullshit is what it is. Handicaps are not linear. A stroke and a half difference from an 18.5 to a 20 is almost negligible…but the closer you get to scratch, the chasm grows. So the 1.5 Stroke difference between Tiger and Romo is realistically like a 6 or 8 stroke difference among mid-to-high handicappers. This is due to the way handicaps are calculated, as well as physical human limitations.
It’s called math…trust me on this one. Basically, pros are so much better than the HCP system conceivably allows for, it shouldn’t be considered at all.
Secondly, going out on a Saturday morning on your home course, and hanging a 71 is light years different than playing on Tour. Even the run-of-the-mill PGA tourneys are played on courses that are all tricked up and pushed to their limits. Add in the travel schedule, demands from sponsors, level of competition, size of purse, crowds, excruciating pace of play…you throw a Weekend Warrior into that environment, they’re gonna crumble.
Golf is the toughest professional game, mentally, and there is no second place. A GW field goal or free throw; a 3-2, 2 out bottom of the ninth situation; a clutch penalty shot….any given Sunday that you’re in contention on Tour you face 65-70 of those situations in a row. Except you have 5 minutes of alone time in your own head to dwell on it first.
There is a reason you hear that the Tour pros practice hitting like 1,000 of the same exact shot every single day- I mean, besides the fact that are all obsessive nut jobs- it’s because they need their body to repeat every aspect of that swing within a 10th of a millimeter roughly 280 times in competition. Repeating a golf swing twice in a row is as precise as any act in all of sport. For four rounds…it’s an exercise in futility. To think someone, no matter how great an athlete, could realistically go out there and compete on that level is about as dumb a thing as I’ve heard.
Fans and writers alike often confuse the fact that they can play a game, and that they “know a guy who’s a scratch golfer”, with the notion that it’s attainable to become a pro. “If I could quit work, and play and practice every day like those guys, I could become good enough”…
No. No you couldn’t. This isn’t darts, Frank. You could go back in time, and start practicing every day from the time you were 5, and there’s still a one in 10 million chance you’d sniff a PGA Tour Event.
“Scratch golfer”… please….Tiger Woods was a scratch golfer at 15 years old. I think Phil is a scratch as a righty. So can we please stop pretending that phrase means anything in relation to pros???
These guys are a thousand times better than the Champ at your local country club could ever be, and certainly a hell of a lot better than Tony Romo. “These guys are good”.