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TRANSCRIPT: TWO-TIME DEFENDING CHAMPION TONY ROMO PREVIEWS AMERICAN CENTURY CHAMPIONSHIP

American Century Championship
Friday, July 10, 2020
Tony Romo
Press Conference

THE MODERATOR: We have our two-time defending champion, Tony Romo, with us. You’re going for the tie with Mulder for three in a row.

Mulder, we asked him if he had any advice for you yesterday. He said no. So -- (laughter). So welcome back. How is your game? And tell us what you’ve been doing these past few months.

TONY ROMO: Well, like everybody, just quarantining and spending time with the family. And luckily, golf was still available to get out and play a little bit.

But we feel comfortable coming in. Feel pretty good about my game. And hopefully I’ll get a chance to be in contention on Sunday.

Q. Is getting your third straight important to you, or is this just the next year’s tournament? As far as matching Mulder.

TONY ROMO: I think whenever you compete, you want to win, regardless of really any situation you’re in. But I think whenever you win at a place like this, with the people each year, it makes it even more special.

And so winning three in a row, obviously the goal’s always to win. But I don’t really think about necessarily the numbers as much as wanting to play good golf this week and put myself in a position to have a chance on Sunday.

Q. Rick Rhoden, obviously, won seven times here, do you think about that; is that something you want?

TONY ROMO: I’m sure as I get older. But I can’t get to seven this year, so... just trying to get a ball in the hole on the first hole, for birdie or par, hopefully.

Q. And obviously I’d imagine there’s a lot of differences, but just generally what are the differences between a PGA TOUR event and one of these?

TONY ROMO: Well, this is one as well as I feel like a TOUR event. I feel like NBC almost does the same thing, when they run an event and the TOUR. I think they just follow all the same, I don’t want to say protocol, but a lot of the similar type of feelings, I guess, when you show up on site.

It’s first class. American Century has done an incredible job. Just a really enjoyable tournament to be part of. My family loves coming every year. It’s been a special place for us.

Q. Obviously you can win this, Mulder can win this, Smoltz, a couple others. Do you feel like Steph Curry might have a greater chance than normal just because of the way the NBA season has gone?

TONY ROMO: Yeah, you have to ask Steph. Steph always had enough game to be able to compete. Obviously when you have more time, you have an opportunity to practice and put in time on some of your weaknesses; but I feel like he’s always had enough game to be able to contend and win this.

Q. You’re better than even money this year. What are your thoughts on that, your reaction?

TONY ROMO: Nothing, really. I just found that out yesterday. We were laughing. I was, like, I thought this was golf, not one-on-one. But it’s just a nice statement that they think that I’m playing decent golf and hopefully -- but I don’t think anyone here is that big of a favorite.

Q. Coming back year after year, have you formed any traditions or had any fandom that you’re missing out on this year?

TONY ROMO: It’s just starting right now. But I think the biggest thing was just the fans that are here. Obviously, it’s the right thing to do, not have a gathering of a lot of people.

But I feel like just the interaction with a lot of the kids and people that come, I think that will be hopefully back next year and you’ll get a chance to see fathers and sons out here. It has a special place in my heart. That’s the first thing.

Q. As far as No. 17, it’s probably going to be a little more subdued this year obviously because there won’t be the same air quite as much. Your thoughts over the years on that particular hole?

TONY ROMO: That hole is -- there’s really two holes, not everyone sees on the front nine, too. Because I think you’ve got 7 which gets pretty rowdy as well.

But 17 is just a unique experience. I don’t think -- there’s nothing like it that I’ve seen. Maybe Scottsdale is probably the closest thing you can think of, the stadium. But it’s just really -- it’s just a passionate fan base that gets crazy. If you want everyone to be quiet when you’re hitting a golf shot, you’re not going to get it there.

Q. This year the local authorities have asked folks to take it easy out there, to maintain social distancing. And unfortunately to not be as interactive with the players and each other, quite frankly, as in the past. So that’s one of the real big safety issues that’s been going on this week. So I think it will be a little different. So be prepared.

TONY ROMO: That’s perfect. We’re ready.

Q. You’ve been the favorite, have you been across the street to visit that place? What are you thinking?
TONY ROMO: I haven’t gone over there. Sticking to my own area.

Q. I was wondering, what do you think are the key holes in the tournament that you have to play well on to win again?

TONY ROMO: I think 16 and 18 are always going to be where you can make up a turnaround. It’s swung every year. Someone’s got five points, and all of a sudden there’s an eagle and two birdies coming in, now they’re at 20 or something. You find very quickly you can make up a lot of ground coming down the stretch. So I think you just have to stay patient and understand, even if you’re not playing as well, when I first started this a while back, if you didn’t play really well early, it wasn’t going your way, you can easily let that mindset creep in. And reality is it only takes one or two holes to get back in this thing. So just stay patient.

Q. Last year you seemed to have a level of confidence that was almost intimidating for the other players. It really was, with you playing, going out and playing in professional golf tournaments on TOUR, what not. And it just seemed that there was a confidence about you and a calmness.

TONY ROMO: Yeah, you know when you’ve made a little bit of a leap in your game. And so I felt confident last year knowing, pretty similar to this year, I think when you’re able and confidently to wake up the next morning and say I feel like my ball should go this way. I wasn’t always like that, I promise you. It allows me to feel comfortable, competing, hopefully have a chance.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports