Cowboys Fans Descend on Congressional
This is when I knew it was gonna be bad. We were on the 12th fairway, Tiger and Tony's third hole, when I saw a father and daughter in matching Romo jerseys perched around the green. That would be Joe Ramirez from Mechanicsburg PA, along with his five-year old daughter Dallas. Yeah, Dallas.
"Better than naming her Washington," he said.
And this, sports fans, is why you don't invite the Cowboys quarterback to play with the tournament host in Bethesda, even if they are both friends with Hank Haney. Honestly, for a good part of the day, it felt like being at FedEx Field on a certain late fall Monday evening, with a certain black and gold fan base emerging from dark vans like cockroaches, the kind of cockroaches that wear those gloating little smirks and whisper bad things about your treasured civic institutions under their breath.
The numbers today were exponentially smaller, but the Cowboys stuff was everywhere in that mob of people following Tiger and Tony. Just everywhere. Fathers, sons, daughters, old friends, new friends, hats and shirts and jerseys and visors. Everywhere. It rankled the soul, made your Gatorade Tiger Focus stick in your craw. It should be a mark that never leaves Tiger's resume, no matter how many times he says he loves D.C.
"I got chills -- so close to greatness," one fan said, after a particularly nice approach shot. By a quarterback.
That would be Michael Sarner of Fairfax, one of the less outlandishly dressed of the Cowboys mob.
"How many playoff games has he won?" asked his friend, Mark Lindsey, and sure, there was some of that. But for most of the day, especially the early morning hours, it was all love from the crowd.
"People were nice," Romo said. "People inherently are good, I think, and it was a good reception out here. There's a lot more Cowboys fans than I thought, but even the Washington fans, it's just all in good fun, the way the day went. You know what to expect a little bit, but honestly, people were very respectful."
There were some who wanted to mouth off. There was Jim Davis from Gaithersburg, in a Skins polo and Skins hat, on the 15th green. "This isn't section 400 at the stadium, so I guess we're a little more polite," he said. "If someone else was doing it, I would join in."
"I haven't had the chance," said Jim Duke from Potomac, on the 16th fairway. "Given the opportunity, I'll do my part."
The two Zahady brothers, ages 7 and 9 3/4 and both wearing Romo, were heckled on a shuttle bus, with passengers saying no Cowboys fans were allowed. "I had to flex my muscles, put on the protective dad gear," joked their father, Phil.
There was Phil Yonker from Rockville, wearing a Dallas Sucks t-shirt; "Why wouldn't you wear something to represent D.C.?" he asked. "Are you kidding me?"
There was Teddy Socha from Rockville, outfitted in a Sean Taylor jersey. "Tony Romo's playing in D.C. and I'm a Redskins fan," he explained simply.
And there were the more vocal ones; Del Lynch, in an Art Monk hat, shouted out to "Hit it like it's December" from a few feet behind Romo on the 7th tee, and Chris Wellde from Ellicott City let a "Let's Go Redskins!" rip from the 9th. "Deservedly so, coming into Redskins territory," Wellde said. "Tony, you gonna miss T.O.?" at least one fan shouted out. And when a starter on that 7th tee asked for a nice Washington Redskins welcome for the visiting quarterback, there was a chorus of boos, just like there was during the Opening Shot festivities an hour later.
But still, everywhere you looked that dang star.
"Tiger and Tony together, you can't beat it," said Chauncey Strong, 39, of Alexandria. "To have the quarterback of the Cowboys with Tiger, my God. You can't beat it at all."
Antonio Infante asked course officials whether his jersey was inappropriate; not because of the colors, but because it was a football jersey on a golf course. They said he was fine, so he wore Romo, too.
"My quarterback's out here," he said.
Cowboys fans shouted out congratulations after Romo hit the fairway, roared when he out-drove Tiger, and wished their quarterback good luck in the upcoming season.
"America's team," noted Brett Zenewicz, wearing his "Romo wuz not built in a day" shirt. "There's nobody with the Redskins."
Indeed, the crowd following Antwaan Randle El and Jason Campbell was considerably smaller, though that might have been more about Mike Weir and Tiger Woods and less about Tony Romo, one would hope. And the crowd following Tiger also included Red Sox t-shirts, Yankees hats, Penguins hats, University of Kentucky hats, pink Cowboys hats, New York Giants hats, Broncos hats, Dolphins hats, and a guy in a LeBron James jersey. So let's just hope No. 9 jerseys don't become a staple for the rest of this week.
"I saw a lot of em out here today," Campbell observed. "I was trying to figure out, did they fly 'em here? I know they probably don't live here. They chartered a plane."
"No big thing to me," Randle El said. "What matters is what happens on the field."
(Note: I'm pretty sure that none of these folks pictured here appears more than once.)
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