PGA Tour Confidential: The Byron Nelson Championship

Tony Romo
L.M. Otero/AP
Dallas Cowboys' quarterback Tony Romo is 36 holes away from qualifying for the U.S. Open.

ELS'S WENTWORTH CHANGES PANNED AT BMW
Shipnuck: For my money, the Nelson was only the third most important tourney of the week. The Euro tour held its flagship event, the BMW PGA Championship. Journeyman Simon Khan prevailed, but all the buzz was about Ernie Els's latest redesign at Wentworth, which was universally panned. This follows the too-tough TPC San Antonio, dreamed up by Sergio Garcia, among others. Has the era of the player-architect finally, mercifully ended?

Gorant: Probably not. When you're investing millions in building a course, and the accompanying real estate, you need something to draw people. As much as you may like Tom Doak or Roger Rulewich, they don't sell memberships/houses. Guy who drops big bucks wants to bore the crap out of people at the office talking about his Nicklaus course, etc.

Walker: Except for Nicklaus and Crenshaw, who've proved they're serious about course design, Tour players should stick to stuff they know, like making wine.

Hack: Course design, wineries, these guys really are good.

Evans: The era will never end. The player-architect is in place to sell housing lots in developments that shouldn't be built in the first place. A Tiger design in any affluent suburban development in the world will attract lots of buyers, even after the scandal, even in this tough market.

Stricklin: Ben Crenshaw is the only current player I want designing my courses.

Shipnuck: Ben can't break 80 — he's an architect first and has been for a good long while.

Morfit: The idea of a player-architect is another example of fuzzy logic. Why would I want to play Tiger's first designs instead of, say, the final masterwork of a guy like Mike Strantz? Because Tiger could make a ball bend to his will? Who cares? I'd rather play Monterrey Peninsula C.C. than Tiger Woods Dubai or whatever that thing is going to be called.

Shipnuck: Poor Ernie keeps plowing up Wentworth, and it only gets worse. I liked Paul Casey's idea that courses be treated like historical buildings, and that there be more oversight anytime someone wants to make changes.

Herre: Unless there's an issue that affects play, like the 17th green at Shinnecock Hills or the 18th green at Olympic during the Open, I think these course-design kerfuffles are non-stories. Just play the damn course already.

YOO WINS MATCH PLAY, BUT SHIN MAKES A POINT AGAINST WIE
Shipnuck: The young Korean Sun Young Yoo beat Angela Stanford to win a very exciting Sybase Match Play Championship, but the match of the week was Jiyai Shin's takedown of Michelle Wie in the quarterfinals. Shin was giving up a foot in height and 60 yards off the tee but wore Weezy down with her relentless accuracy. How big a moment was this for Shin as she tries to establish herself as No. 1?

Hack: Shin's the No.1 player in the world, a major champ and was the higher seed. The better player won, no?

Godich: It was huge, especially when you consider she was 1 down after 12 holes. The match didn't even get to the 18th hole.

Gorant: Big in that she put a little numerical distance between herself and her closest pursuers. As far as beating Wie, though, I don't imagine it means much to her, since she's been doing it regularly for two-plus years.

Shipnuck: I think the victory is big because it will help people focus on Shin's reign. Her English is engaging and getting better by the day, and she is a really bubbly, fun-loving personality. The LPGA and (Golf Channel) needs to do a much better job of selling her.

Gorant: She is quite peppy and has what Brent Musburger would repeatedly call a great story, but I'm not sure how captivating she is. At least a few notches below Ochoa, who didn't exactly grab the average sports fan by the throat.

Shipnuck: Before we leave the LPGA, a special shout-out to Juli Inkster, a fiftysomething soccer mom who at the Sybase stepped on the neck of the tour's best athlete and the No. 3 player in the world, Suzann Pettersen. Is there a more underrated great player extant than Inkster?

Herre: I will vote for Bernhard Langer.

Morfit: Not only that, everyone loves her, on both tours.

Godich: You have to love her passion, but perhaps her continuing popularity is due to the lack of a young American star? Would somebody — anybody! — please step up?

Evans: I don't know that Inkster is underrated in the world of women's golf. She's won majors and she's a Hall of Famer.

Hack: Golf Channel takes a lot of grief in this space, but I thought the announcers showed some bite this week, questioning Stanford's decision to squeeze in the Yanks-Mets game Saturday night, some 50 miles away, between two days of 36 holes. Lincicome, a guest announcer, said she would have advised Angela to go to Sunday's game, not Saturday's. Val Skinner then asked Angela after the round. She said she lost because she was misreading putts, not because she was tired. That was good stuff.

ROMO'S OPEN HAIL MARY
Shipnuck: OK, before we go, we have to touch on the most exciting development of the week: Tony Romo is only two good rounds from playing in the U.S. Open!

Gorant: If he makes it, he'd be out there at Pebble Beach among all the 49er fans. Could be a bloodbath.

Morfit: Yes, it's very exciting. And Jerry Rice is only two good rounds from making the cut in a Nationwide event and not getting disqualified.

Herre: Even Van Sickle made it through local qualifying. Romo has no chance in the sectional.

Van Sickle: Speaking as a player who just missed the Open in sectional qualifying — by a scant 17 shots — let me say congrats to Tony. But I also have to point out that unless he plays the two best rounds of his life, he's not remotely close to making the Open. Glad he's trying, though. It's cool. The opposite of ego-freak Jerry Rice taking up space on the Nationwide Tour.

Godich: But who wins when he tees it up with Jordan Spieth?

Morfit: Funny that he and Spieth are texting buddies. Seems like Romo is opening himself up for a lot of criticism from disgruntled Cowboys fans by playing so much golf, but good for him for sticking with something he has a passion for even while maintaining his day job.

Godich: Well, he did pass on the opportunity to play in the Monday qualifier for the Nelson.

Stricklin: He still considers the Cowboys his day job, sort of. He is very serious about Open qualifying, but he could overthink it. Does Bob Rotella make housecalls to NFL quarterbacks?

Shipnuck: It's a sad day when a guy can get criticized for shagging buxom starlets and playing too much golf. Isn't that the definition of the American dream?

Stricklin: I am chasing the rumor that Jessica will caddie for him in the sectional qualifying, dressed in the Barbie and Ken outfits they used for her birthday party. OK, maybe not. His chances depend on the weather in the Houston area on June 7 and the conditions at the Nicklaus Carlton Woods course. In a birdie shootout, Romo is in trouble. If he only needs to shoot upper 60s or low 70s, he could advance. He is a grinder on the golf course. Like Gary said, he is not Jerry Rice, but a serious golfer who has gotten further than I or just about anybody thought he would.

Van Sickle: Nobody would have a word of criticism about Romo's golf if he had two Super Bowl rings.

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