Romero helps golf grow in Argentina

CARMEL, Ind. (AP) — It's been 20 years since Eduardo Romero's first European Tour victory, and he's had a lot of success since then.

The 55-year-old from Argentina rates his win at last year's U.S. Senior Open as his most significant because it gave him a confidence boost.

``It's my favorite tournament,'' he said. ``It's the more important tournament in my life.''

Romero said his win was important for golf in his country, his hometown of Cordoba and Latin America as a whole. He can't help but get excited when reminded of his victory.

``I feel very good, just like a movie in my head,'' he said. ``When I start to play golf, I'm thinking of my town and my family and everything.''

He said golf is increasingly popular in Argentina and rivals soccer as the nation's favorite sport. He said there are 125 courses in the capital city, Buenos Aires.

``Probably a couple years ago, the first game in Argentina, it was soccer, and now it's golf,'' he said. ``Golf is going up and up.''

WATSON FEELING BETTER: Tom Watson clearly was a favorite of the fans, who crowded together for his autograph as he walked between holes with his foursome during his only practice round.

``How you doing today, Tom?'' one fan yelled to him. Another offered a compliment: ``You're looking good!''

Watson did not practice Tuesday because he was ill, apparently after eating Chinese food shortly before he left Britain on the tail end of two majors he played there - the British Open two weeks ago and the Senior British Open last week.

Now, with jet lag added to his illness, he is playing his third major in three weeks.

Watson said he was feeling somewhat better as he walked the 16th fairway.

One well-wisher shouted a piece of advice along that fairway: ``No more Chinese food, Tom, until after the tournament!''

Watson just smiled.

RESPECT YOUR ELDERS: Greg Norman said he hopes the players in their 20s are ``sitting up and taking stock'' that they still can have another 30 years of competitive golf ahead of them.

Norman was 53 last year when he led the British Open after three rounds before finishing tied for third. Tom Watson stunned the golf world in the same tournament this year at age 59, leading after three rounds before losing to Stewart Cink in a playoff.

``I think the last couple years, the British Open has shown the fact that if you keep yourself in good physical shape, the best physical shape you can for the age you are in, and then make sure your game is halfway decent, you can contend with these (younger) guys,'' Norman said after Wednesday's practice round before the U.S. Senior Open.

He said that while older players can't compete with the younger players every time, they can use their experience to their advantage on some courses.

Tom Lehman agreed, saying some courses benefit players who have ``an old-style game.''

``I think you will find that there are some courses that guys in their 50s have very little chance on,'' Lehman said. ``But there are some courses where they do have a chance if they've kept their game short.''

Norman's advice to the young guys: ``Be patient and keep on your game plan, and keep working at it. The game of golf will take it away from you but also give it back to you over a long period of time.''

FUZZY'S NEW DRINK: Arnold Palmer might have a unique birthday gift heading his way.

Fuzzy Zoeller's new Fuzzy's Vodka debuted June 1. When asked about Palmer's upcoming 80th birthday, Zoeller came up with an idea.

``I think what I'll do, I'll send him 80 bottles of Fuzzy Vodka,'' the 57-year-old Zoeller said, noting that Palmer has made a great deal of money in his lifetime, so it won't be a typical present come Sept. 10.

``Oh, there will be a small charge,'' Zoeller joked. ``It won't be free.''

Zoeller said he tried to get Palmer to try his new spirit by hooking Palmer's wife, Kit. Palmer plans to stick with his favorite.

``I got Kit on it,'' Zoeller said of Fuzzy's Vodka. ``I thought the easiest way to get to the man is get to the wife. Kit really liked it. Arnold is a Ketel One guy.''

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