The Washington Times - June 29, 2009, 06:48PM

Tiger Woods is taking a much more high-profile approach to his Wednesday Pro-Am group at his AT&T National this year.

While most of us are either still in bed, sipping our first cup of coffee or sitting in traffic on Wednesday morning, Woods will be teeing it up at 6:30 a.m. with Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo and House Minority Leader John Boehner (Ohio Republican). No word yet from the AT&T National folks on who will join that power trio, though it is assumed it will be someone with military ties.


In the tournament’s first year, 2007, Woods played the Pro-Am with two members of the military, and former President George H.W. Bush joined him for the last few holes. Bush, known for his “speed golf,” hit that tournament’s ceremonial opening shot. Even Woods’ caddy that summer was a military member, whom Woods allowed to sink a put on the seventh hole.

Last year, of course, Woods missed his tournament with his knee injury and didn’t participate in the Pro-Am.

Since it’s D.C., and there’s a high-profile politician in the mix, the talk immediately turned to Woods’ party affiliation. But, good luck getting Woods to tip his hand on that one. He’s shown the tendency to hit it down the middle (pun intended) on that issue, much like his fellow Team Nike member Michael Jordan (“Republicans wear sneakers, too,” Jordan once said.)

In fact, football great Jim Brown recently criticized both Jordan and Woods on HBO’s Real Sports. Referring to Woods, Brown said: “As an individual for social change…? Terrible. Terrible.”

After the 2008 presidential election, Woods told CNBC that Obama’s election was “absolutely incredible. He represents America. He’s multiracial. I was hoping it would happen in my lifetime.”

And while many point out that Woods spoke at the Lincoln Memorial on Sunday, Jan. 18, to kick off the “We Are One” celebration leading up to the inauguration of President Obama, Woods did not once mention the president’s name. Woods spoke about his late father, the military and Abraham Lincoln.

Boehner, the de facto face of the Republican party, at first seems a curious choice for inclusion in Woods’ group on Wednesday; there certainly are more popular, interesting or outgoing congressmen on the Hill. But few take their golf as serious as Boehner, who carries a 7.5 handicap. And, his favorite method of fundraising is taking it to the links — and he’s pretty good at it.

Romo also is an avid golfer. He attempted to qualify for the U.S. Open last month, and he played last weekend in the Ray Fischer Amateur Championship at Riverside Golf Course in Janesville, Wisc., and finished tied for 18th at 287. In fact he golfs so much, some have questioned whether or not it gets in the way of his full-time gig. “That’s why his record is what it is in December and January,” former footballer Warren Sapp said recently.

This may actually be a lower-profile group than Romo played with last summer at Torrey Pines, when he teed it up with Justin Timberlake and Matt Lauer. (Also in attendance will be Romo’s girlfriend, Jessica Simpson, who will sing the national anthem on Wednesday, and of course the quarterback for the local NFL franchise, Jason Campbell)

Back for a moment to Tiger’s January visit to D.C., when he spoke at the Lincoln Memorial … it’s worth noting that he stopped by for a quick visit to see the then-president-elect, and promised him a round of golf; he later told Sports Illustrated “we’ll make it happen.”

What better time than this week? Now wouldn’t that kick the star-power up a notch on that Wednesday morning group?

- John Taylor

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