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July 5, 2007

Eduardo Romero


RAND JERRIS: We're now joined by Eduardo Romero. Eduardo with a round of 6-under par, 66 in the first round. Maybe you can start us off with comments about your round today.
EDUARDO ROMERO: I'm going to start for the 10th tee and then make two good pars at the two opening hole;.
And I make a good birdie on No. 12. Hit a 9-iron and made a 3-putt for birdie and then another good shot.
On the 13th hole I make 1-iron and make a putt from four feet for birdie.
And then a fantastic eagle on the 16. Hit a driver, 5-iron and a 1-putter from there. 15 feet.
And then the back nine, make birdie on the second hole par 5, is a driver, 5-iron and 2-putt from 15 feet.
And then another birdie on No. 5.
Another par 5, driver, sand wedge, 1-putt from 4 feet for birdie.
And then I miss one tee shot today was No. 6 to the right of the rough and then chip on to the green with sand wedge. And then make a putt from 5 feet for birdie.
And only one bogey today, No. 7, I hit a fat tee shot and then just on the green and 3-putt from 25 feet.
And then par and par. I play great today, I play fantastic. Yesterday when I come here to do golf course I'm playing 18 more hole I'm saying to my caddy, well, I don't feel -- I feel tired, you know? I prefer to go to the practice range and then I need -- I hit 500 balls yesterday in the afternoon.
Then my swing is very good. I feel -- I feel strong, before I start my round and then it was good, I was swinging good, putting good and then, I'll be there.

Q. You got a little slap in the face from someone when you came up, can you tell who that was and what that was about?
EDUARDO ROMERO: I don't hear you.

Q. Tap on the face when you came up after the 9th hole, when you were heading to the scorer's tent?
EDUARDO ROMERO: Yeah, well, you know I know it's a long way to go, but I say to my caddy before the start today, all the time I say to my caddy, when I like to make 3-under, 4-under, today when I make 6-under. It was tremendous opening round because I play good, I'm very confident, I have a lot of confidence with my swing, and I have a lot of patience, too, because this course -- I know this course is very tough, but I'm playing tremendous golf today.

Q. There has been a lot of talk about you playing off of Angel's victory at the U.S. Open a couple of weeks ago, how much of that is reality and how much of that is you playing well today?
EDUARDO ROMERO: Well, you know, in Argentina and after the win by Angel Cabrera, he say to me, if you go to there, try to win the tournament, because two U.S. Opens in one month is fantastic, and I say, "Angel, I know it's hard but I try my best."
And the opening round is very good and probably Angel Cabrera trying to celebrate, but three more rounds to go, you don't know what happens, especially in this golf course, especially in the U.S. Senior Open, because there are a lot of good players behind me. I have to be very careful, you know?

Q. Can you expand a little bit about your relationship with Angel and your growing up together with him?
EDUARDO ROMERO: Yes, yes, of course, I help Cabrera when he start to play golf in 1991, but it was just -- just a little help. Angel Cabrera make everything, because he's a good player, a good talent. And then he won at the U.S. Open, you know? Tremendous player.

Q. How does it make you feel when he wins the U.S. Open, knowing that you helped him out when he was just starting out, supporting him with money and stuff like that?
EDUARDO ROMERO: Well, I feel good. Right now. But I tell you, it's long way to go, I'm happy with my round now, I'm very happy.

Q. When you hit the 500 balls yesterday were you changing anything in your swing or just grooving it?
EDUARDO ROMERO: No, no, just try to hit 500 balls just in the same swing, no changes. Mechanical, chung, chung, hit it and hit it. And that's the way it was on the golf course today. Driver, just drive and then go. That's what I practiced yesterday.

Q. Could you just tell us what it was you saw in Angel that would lead you to lend him money to help him in his career? What did you see in him?
EDUARDO ROMERO: Because Angel Cabrera was 10 years old, he was a caddy on my home golf course when I'm playing and my father is a pro over there and my father say to me, "You see that kid, Angel Cabrera, a lot of talent. 10 years old, but he can be one of the good players."
I say he's right. And then after 15 years old, Angel Cabrera, Angel had a good swing, good concentration, good character to playing. Then I try to help when Cabrera go to the European Tour, that's all.

Q. Can you relay what the victory of his has been like in your country, compared to soccer and everything?
EDUARDO ROMERO: Yeah, it was at his arrival at the airport, tremendous impact over there, especially in Cordova where we live. And more than 100 cars waiting over there, all the people and the village, it's 35,000 people over there and probably at the airport it's more than 5,000.
And all the people received Angel Cabrera and go to the golf course and celebrating with party, drinking, and then all the people is very happy over there.
Cabrera then he go to Buenos Aires, our president want to see Angel Cabrera. And now Angel Cabrera is the one who is more famous people in Argentina, more than me.

Q. Do you and he play together often and when you do do you beat him?
EDUARDO ROMERO: Oh, yeah, yeah, play many times with Cabrera. Go to Argentina, we play together, I saw him many times. He live five block from my house and I see him every day.

Q. Are you still better than him, though?
EDUARDO ROMERO: Oh, yeah, yeah, still better, yeah. (Chuckles.)

Q. I know that Cabrera, you always knew he was a good player. Winning the U.S. Open, could you ever see that coming? Did you ever see that in his potential way back when?
EDUARDO ROMERO: Cabrera just lost a couple Majors. In the British Open he lost, he is second one time. And also in the PGA he play very good. And I knew he could win an Open, because -- and this year he just missed the cut, hit driver terrible, and then wins the U.S. Open, you never know what happen.
He say to me, "I don't want to go to America because I don't feel good, I hit the ball terrible." And I'm saying, "You have to go, because you never know what happen in golf, you never know."
And then he's coming and play the week before he missed the cut or something like that, I think, and then win the U.S. Open and then after finish there I say to him, "You have to bring me 50% for me, because I'm telling you you have to go there."

Q. What's the course like that you two played on in your hometown?

Q. Yeah.
EDUARDO ROMERO: The course is no longer than this one, but similar, hard fairways, and good greens and then big trees. And it's good golf course. We have only in Buenos Aires 125 golf courses, now. And the golf is growing up and up and up and we have a nice course over there. We play on the Jack Nicklaus and others, and this is fantastic, golf is growing up in Argentina, tremendous.

Q. When you first saw this golf course, did you think you could shoot 6-under par? Did you think this was a harder course?
EDUARDO ROMERO: I'm playing this golf course in 19 -- in 2004, I think. When Vijay Singh win over here, I'm playing. I don't remember how I finish.
But I know this course is tough. I know when I come in here. But I tell you, 6-under was very surprised for me. I think 2-under is enough, but I make 6. Probably I make 2-under tomorrow.

Q. Hear a lot about you and Angel, but Argentine golf started before that. Tell me about your influence from De Vicenzo, guys like Molina, guys like that.
EDUARDO ROMERO: Roberto De Vicenzo for me is one of the best players in the world. He won more than 200 tournaments around the world. And then win the Major in 1967. And for us, Roberto is a hero for us and all the Argentinian players. He is 83 years old now and still playing. And we talk to Roberto many time and he's a fantastic player. He's a hero for us.

Q. You and Cabrera and De Vicenzo all have natural swings, untechnical swings. Can you talk about how that is and how big of a plus that is to keep the swing nontechnical?
EDUARDO ROMERO: I don't know why because -- probably it's because we start to play golf when we was 5 years old, you know? I never change the swing. We start with the same swing and it's a natural swing. All the Argentinians swing is similar, if you see Cabrera, Gonzalez, couple young players it's exactly the same swing. I don't know why because probably we playing natural, you know?
And then probably it's because we don't have many teachers for teaching us in Argentina, you know? Now it's different, we have a lot of teachers there and I think we have a natural swing, I don't know why, I don't know.

Q. Do you think that golf will ever be as popular in Argentina as soccer?
EDUARDO ROMERO: No, I don't think so yet, but probably in couple more years. Soccer is very important in Argentina and all of South America. Before it was soccer and basketball, but now I think second is golf and tennis, also. I think it's soccer, golf, and tennis right now is the list. But probably couple more years it's golf, soccer and tennis, I wish.

Q. Are you going to be talking to Angel soon?
EDUARDO ROMERO: Yeah, in five minutes.

Q. You will call him?
EDUARDO ROMERO: Yeah, yeah, of course, I will call him.
RAND JERRIS: Thank you very much for your time and congratulations on your fine play.

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