PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. -- When Golf Digest published its athlete rankings in 2009, 22 of the 150 players on the list, including 10 of the top 50, were current or former NFL quarterbacks.
Topping the list? Tony Romo, who is in the field at this week's AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am as the celebrity partner to Tiger Woods.
There's no coincidence that Woods and Romo are playing together. They did so at the 2009 AT&T National, and Romo is good friends with Woods, texting him regularly about golf and even sending the world's former No. 1 video of his swing.
It's also no coincidence that quarterbacks make for pretty good golfers. Aside from the free time from working basically six months a year, there are some striking similarities between throwing a football and hitting a golf ball.
"When I throw a football and swing a golf club it's still how you can generate your hips for speed and power?" Romo said. "At the end of the day, it's shoulders and hips and can they all go together?"
For Romo, they've worked well enough together that the Dallas Cowboys signal-caller has tried to qualify for the U.S. Open a handful of occasions and will again this year.
He's also drawn some pretty high praise for Woods, who has played with plenty of athletes, including former Atlanta Braves pitcher John Smoltz. At 6-foot-2 and 225 pounds, Romo, however, like a lot of quarterbacks, has an advantage when it comes to generating speed and power.
"He's one of those gifted athletes that whatever he picks up, he can do," Woods said. "They have just so much more power than we as golfers, do because of the type of training and the size that they have. It's cool to see."
Romo of course is hardly alone on the list of quarterbacks who have legitimate golf games.
Former Denver Broncos quarterback John Elway ranked 14th on Golf Digest's list with a 0.9 handicap index, while Brett Favre was right behind him with an index of 1.
Marc Bulger and Dan Marino both ranked 20th with 1.9 indexes. Favre's replacement in Green Bay, Aaron Rodgers, who is also in the field this week and playing with D.J. Trahan, even made the top 100 with an 8.8 index.
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Romo bests them all, however.
"They wanted to give him a plus-three handicap, which is complete B.S.," Woods said. "He's a scratch.
"All the athletes that I've played with, especially baseball players, the majority of hockey players, they can all move the golf ball. [Tony] is playing from the up tees this week, which will be fun."
Just look at the history of the American Century Championship for more proof. Five times, a quarterback has won there.
As for Romo, he's still looking for his first celebrity win anywhere. Teaming with Woods won't hurt.
"He understands how to play," Woods said. "On top of that, he can really move the ball. With the training that they do and the explosiveness that they have and the strength that he has, the type of training that's allowed him to be that powerful, translates to golf.
"That will be good for us."