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August 3, 2008

Eduardo Romero



RAND JERRIS: It is an honor and a pleasure to welcome the 29th United States Senior Open Champion, Eduardo Romero.

EDUARDO ROMERO: Thank you. Thank you very much. It's so exciting. It was beautiful, fantastic.

I played golf today -- yesterday, I played like Tiger-good, and today I played Tiger-not good, especially the back nine. When I made bogey, when I started to make bogey on No. 11, I guess it was No. 11, I remember Greg Norman when he lost The Masters and he started to make bogeys and never stopped. I'm thinking about it. I said, bogey, bogey, bogey, and then I made four bogeys, wow. 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.

But before that, it was too tension, I just can't believe it. I don't know, first time, the first time in two days. But I feel very, very strong, but after the bogey -- I was a completely different player. I can't see the line and I can't see nothing.

But anyway, when I made the putt, I was a completely different player. It was fun to play with Fred Funk. Fred didn't play good today. Especially when he made bogey, I think he lost the concentration, but the course, it was tough.

And so the scoring, it's no good, but it's all right. I win the tournament, I take the trophy home, two U.S. Opens now in Argentina. Cabrera won the U.S. Open and then I won this one, it's fantastic. Very nice for the Argentine golfers, for South America, for the young golfers, for everybody.

And then it was beautiful, when I'm walking to the 18th green, I see the fans. What people; I've played around the world, I've played in many parts of the world, but the fans here, it's like soccer in Argentina. (Laughter). It's fantastic. It's fantastic.

I don't imagine golf in a stadium, because I'm friends of Maradona, he says, how do you feel when you play golf? I say, I don't know, I can't tell you, it's something special. And then when I walked on the 18th hole, it was true, it was fantastic. I can't explain, I don't know. But it's very nice.

RAND JERRIS: Many great players in the history of this game have won this championship. Can you describe what it means to know that your name has been added to that list?

EDUARDO ROMERO: Well, I tell you, when I come here, the dream is coming true, but, well, this is very important, very important. I don't know how to say, because I'm still excited. I'm still shaking. But it's beautiful. It's beautiful. I keep saying beautiful, thank you very much, everything, many people, to the media, and today, I saw my name in the paper -- (laughter) -- it was fantastic, beautiful, thank you very much to everybody and thank you and thank you and thank you.

RAND JERRIS: Thank you. Let's take some questions from the floor, please.

Q. After 9, where Fred missed that putt for birdie, and then you went on 10 and you birdied, or that putt for -- you know what I'm talking about. On 10 you had this great reaction. What went into your head? What did you feel and what happened between there and the tee box?

EDUARDO ROMERO: Well, because I'm trying to make a good putt, because when I make a good putt, the others are coming, you know. That would say, okay, the putter is coming, and I started to make bogeys after that. But that putt, it was fantastic. It was the best putt all week, I think. It gave me a lot of confidence after that.

But I'm sad to make bogey, but anyway, I had confidence, too.

Q. When you were making four straight bogeys, was there some kind of experience that you could draw upon from the past that would right the ship?

EDUARDO ROMERO: Yeah, I remember one time in Argentina when we were playing the Argentinian Open, I started to make bogey on No. 11 and made seven bogeys in a row. It couldn't stop, it's very hard, especially for me, maybe not for other ones, but for me, it's very difficult. I can't stop.

And then when I started to make bogeys today, I said -- but then when Fred Funk made a triple-bogey, I said, well, okay, I breathe a little bit, because before that, I'm doing yoga for ten years now so far, and then after the next two bogeys, I can't breathe. I have to really concentrate to breathe, because I feel very bad, very bad.

Well, I figure, if the bogeys don't like me, I'm not going to like bogeys, too.

Q. Were you surprised on his decision on 13 coming out of the rough? Were you surprised he chose 7-iron?

EDUARDO ROMERO: No, because on the practice day I go exactly the same place as Fred and it's impossible. When I saw the ball go there, I said, oohh, it's another chance. I thought he would make bogey, but a triple, wow, it was a terrible place there, terrible, terrible.

Q. After the triple-bogey Fred made, did you get any relief or were you in the mind-set of, that could be me?

EDUARDO ROMERO: No, I was still concentrated because Freddie is a good player. If I make bogey, he makes birdie and it's two stroke. No, no. I breathe on the 18th driver. When I hit driver on the 18th hole, I said, okay, I think I got it. (Laughter).

Q. Could you talk about your putter? What kind of putter is that, and how long is it? Could you just describe it?

EDUARDO ROMERO: Yeah, this is a 45 length, 400 grams, maybe half a kilo, and it's a belly, White Hot, a belly long one, 45 inches.

Q. 45 inches?

EDUARDO ROMERO: Yeah, 45, very long. And then it's very heavy, because I use the very short putter light, and then I start to use the long one and heavy and I have to make a change, big change. Using my belly putter, it's very heavy, very long, and normal putter. It's a White Hot 3.

Q. When did you change?

EDUARDO ROMERO: I changed at the PGA two months ago or three months ago.

Q. You said you had been doing yoga for about ten years; is that right?


Q. And what do you derive from that?

EDUARDO ROMERO: It's a mental yoga. Because before, I lost concentration so quick, like this (snapping fingers) and one shot completely lost concentration and make bogey, like today on the 11th hole.

But it's a mental yoga, mental concentration, just mental yoga and then working for ten years, and one year I stop after five and then five, it's ten years total. It's helped me in life, not just in golf, but it's good for the life, to breathe and walking different and oxygen and the problems are different. It's completely different. It's just helped me a lot. The yoga helped me a lot.

RAND JERRIS: Can you talk about the pressure that you were feeling on the back nine; have you felt that much pressure in your career before?

EDUARDO ROMERO: No, I think it was the first time.

RAND JERRIS: Did it surprise you that you felt that way?

EDUARDO ROMERO: No, a lot of pressure, yeah, a lot of pressure, it was the first time. It was the first time I had a lot of pressure from the 11th hole, but it's good. It's another experience.

Q. And then you gave the course superintendent a big handshake at the end there; what did you think of the course overall? What do you take away from the four days that you played, and the course conditions and pin placements and the condition of the course?

EDUARDO ROMERO: I like the hard conditions. I like to play the hard conditions because my game is good for difficult conditions. When I'm playing in the British Open, bad weather, hard conditions, hard greens, hard fairways, but I like it. I prefer that, yeah. I love playing these fast greens and hard fairways. I like it.

Q. What kind of celebrations do you feel like are going to be planned for your hometown?

EDUARDO ROMERO: Oohhh -- (laughter) -- I can't tell you. (Laughter).

Yeah, when I won in Endicott a couple of months ago, in my village, 35,000 people live in my village, and then the school is closed when I arrive to the airport and all of the kids go to follow me and my car in the airport. It was fantastic, when I won in New York.

Now I win the U.S. Open, maybe the president come to visit me -- maybe, I don't think so. (Laughter) it's fantastic. It's great.

Q. What is the name of your village?

EDUARDO ROMERO: Villa Allende, same village as Cabrera lives.

PETE KOWALSKI: We have a surprise for you.

EDUARDO ROMERO: No. If it's the president, I don't want him. Who is it?

Q. Can you talk about winning at altitude? You won by two strokes in 2002 in Switzerland.

EDUARDO ROMERO: Yeah, where I live, we have 1,300.

(Roberto DeVincenzo conferenced in via telephone from Argentina).

EDUARDO ROMERO: Come on, Roberto! Wake up! (Laughter). He's sleeping.


EDUARDO ROMERO: Ola, Roberto! Roberto?

ROBERTO DeVICENZO: Si, senior. Ola, Roberto.

EDUARDO ROMERO: Ola, you can hear me?

ROBERTO DeVICENZO: Hola, como estas, Roberto?

EDUARDO ROMERO: Muy bien. Y tu, muy bien?

ROBERTO DeVICENZO: Mundo para ti.

EDUARDO ROMERO: Gracias, triente anos, Roberto. Muchas gracias (continuing in Spanish).

ROBERTO DeVICENZO: Bueno tinto total.

EDUARDO ROMERO: Hasta luego!

INTERPRETER: What Roberto says is that all of the people are very excited with Romero's victory, and he shares with all of these people. The people were following the tournament and he was really excited with the crowd.

EDUARDO ROMERO: And they are still celebrating over there.

Q. When will you go home?

EDUARDO ROMERO: Tomorrow. I've lost the flight now; I don't care. I don't care right now. I'm leaving tomorrow, tomorrow morning, 7:00 from Dallas to Argentina. It's only 11 hours.

Q. How important is it on that trophy, there, that your name is there with Roberto?

EDUARDO ROMERO: It's one of the best -- one of the best trophies in my career, one of the best. He's the best; not one of the best; is the best. I won nine tournaments in Europe and win 85 tournaments in South America, and then this is the more important tournament, of course.

Q. With your name and Roberto's name?

EDUARDO ROMERO: Oh, yeah, besides, very good.

Q. How do you explain two great golfers coming out of such a small town in such an obscure place where golf is really a third, fourth sport; how do you explain it?

EDUARDO ROMERO: You know why, in Villa Allende where we live, when we was a caddie, we started to be caddie at seven years old, and I caddied for my father. My father was a pro, and he died five years ago and then he teach me, all right now, is what my father was. And then we played golf in Argentina, just across the street and the golf course was there. We played only Monday because the caddies played Monday because the course is closed on Monday in Argentina in South America.

And then Monday we play golf with all of the caddies, Villa Allende has 155 caddies, so far, between 15 years old -- no, sorry, 10 and 15 years old. This is a great town.

Everybody is talking about golf. Everybody knows about golf. If you go to the pharmacy, the guy says, "Eduardo, how you've played" it is unbelievable, it is a little village like St. Andrews. Everybody knows about golf, everybody. Everybody knows about golf.

And the kids at the school, Cabrera and myself, we go there every Friday when we are there to teach golf in the school in our little village. And now we have more than 160 kids playing golf in our golf course. That is very good. Everybody knows about the golf in Villa Allende, and now Cabrera and I have won this one, it's very good.

RAND JERRIS: Eduardo, congratulations.

End of FastScripts

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