Tragedy Puts Damper On
October 21, 2008
By Stuart Hall
Cary, N.C. - Eduardo Romero is having a banner season. Among
his Champions Tour-high three titles is the U.S. Senior Open
he claimed in early August, putting the Argentinean in
contention for Player of the Year honors.
But the 54-year-old Romero also is having a trying year.
|Eduardo Romero won't deny that
his year has been filled with highs and lows. (John
Bookending his third-place finish at the British Senior Open
at Royal Troon in Ayshire, Scotland, and his Senior Open
triumph at The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, Colo., Romero
First, his 19-year-old cousin was killed in a motorcycle
accident and then his brother-in-law succumbed to a six-month
bout with cancer. As Romero has discovered, victory can
sometimes be tempered by loss.
"I feel much better," said Romero, who in just his third
start since winning his first USGA title won the Champions
Tour's SAS Championship on Sept. 28. "It's been a fantastic
year. The bad is over."
Romero was hoping to add a third major - he also won the 2006
JELD-WEN Tradition - to his resume at last week's
Constellation Energy Senior Players Championship at Baltimore
Country Club in Timonium, Md., but finished tied for seventh,
four strokes behind champion D.A. Weibring.
Despite his personal sorrows, the ebullient Romero remains
Affectionately known as "El Gato," Romero is best known for
prodigious driving ability - he has ranked second in average
driving distance the past two years - but it's his
ever-improving putter that has been key intangible this
While it might be only a negligible difference, Romero is
averaging 29.36 putts per round (No. 27 on the Champions
Tour) compared to 29.41 (31st) in 2007. But it's given Romero
a noticeable confidence on the greens.
"The putter gives me a lot of confidence, for driver, from
the bunker, for everything," said Romero after his SAS
Championship triumph. "When I'm putting good, I win
tournaments. Thirty-one, thirty-two putts that's too many."
Tom Kite, the 1992 U.S. Open champion and seven-time Ryder
Cup member, noticed a difference in Romero's play starting at
the Senior PGA Championship in May when Romero tied for 16th
using a belly putter. Since then Romero has seven top-20
finishes and three victories.
"That has turned one liability into an asset," said Kite of
Even on a bad putting day, like his 34-putt final round at
the U.S. Senior Open, Romero knows that it only takes one
positive stroke to turn the tide. At The Broadmoor that
Sunday, Romero bogeyed the 11th hole "and then I made four
bogeys, wow," he said. "I said to my caddie, 'I have to make
a putt, just one putt.' That's what I wanted. And then it
was on 15, good driver and good second shot and good putt,
and then I started to relax."
In recent years, Romero has turned to Rhami Hayat, a form of
mental yoga, to calm his nerves and improve his on-course
focus. Romero drew upon the yoga and his U.S. Senior Open
experience when his game got a little wobbly over the last
nine holes at the SAS Championship. After a bogey at 13
and a scrambling par on 14, Romero settled his nerves for a
"I'm learning to control the concentration," he said.
"Sometimes I lose the concentration very quick. That's what
happened at The Broadmoor when I make bogey, bogey, bogey. I
don't know what happened or why. Just minutes a complete
Hiccups aside, Romero believes more success is ahead as the
Champions Tour heads into homestretch, including the
season-ending Charles Schwab Cup Championship.
"I feel strong, I can win or two more â€¦ I can feel it," said
Romero, who joined countrymen Roberto De Vicenzo (1980 Senior
Open) and Angel Cabrera (2007 U.S. Open) as USGA champions.
"It's been a sad year off the course. It makes me tired. But
on the course it's been fantastic. Just a great year."
Success has been the perfect salve for Romero's personal
Stuart Hall is a freelance writer whose work has
previously appeared on www.usga.org.