Tributes have poured in from the golfing world after it was announced that Argentine golfer Eduardo Romero died on February 13 from cancer. He was 67.
The son of a club professional, Romero, whose nickname was ‘El Gato’ (The Cat), is widely considered to be one of the greatest South American golfers of all time.
After starting his professional career in 1982 playing on the Tour de las Americas, Romero joined the European Tour in 1985 and won eight times during a 20-year spell on the tour, starting with the Trophée Lancome in 1989 and finishing with a play-off victory at the Scottish Open in 2002 when he was 47, which, at the time, made him the third oldest winner on the European Tour. Wins at the French, Spanish and Italian Opens were among his other highlights.
He went on to win seven titles on the senior circuits in Europe and the US, including the US Senior Open in 2008.
A prolific winner in South America, where he collected more than 80 titles, including eight Argentine PGA Championships, Romero represented Argentina at the World Cup of Golf 14 times, finishing second on home soil alongside Angel Cabrera in 2000. His highest world ranking was 20.
Among the many reactions to his death on social media, former European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn tweeted: “This really hurts. Eduardo was the nicest man. A great friend that always was a pleasure to be around. He had a big game, but more importantly an even bigger heart. RIP, dear El Gato. A true great ambassador for Argentina and for our game.”
Former Ryder Cup player and TV commentator Ken Brown wrote on Twitter: “Eduardo Romero. What a man. Such a warm character, with a kind heart. Inspirational, generous and always smiling. We’ll all miss ‘The Cat’.”
European Tour Group chief operating officer Keith Waters, who played alongside Romero in the 1980s and 90s, said: “All of us at the European Tour group are sad to hear of the passing of Eduardo. He was an important part of a special group of Argentinian golfers to have played on the European Tour in the 1980s and 1990s and then on the Seniors Tour in the 2000s, and he was a fun guy to be around who always played golf with a smile on his face.”
Speaking after his retirement from competitive golf in 2014, Romero said: “I never thought I would make a living from golf, I just played because I loved golf. I loved to hit the ball, and I always went out to enjoy what I did. I think I’m satisfied with my career. If I had any regrets, it was not winning a major. I was close at the British Open, but at the end of the day everything happens for a reason. I did what I could, and I’m happy with what I achieved.”