As you probably read a week back, Eduardo Romero died last February 13, 2022. With over 80 professional tournament victories to his name, he’s definitely one of the best golfers the world has ever seen. So to honor him, let’s take a look at a few facts about Argentina’s legendary El Gato. Aside from his golf club length chart, here are things you probably didn’t know about him until now.
1. He Didn’t Expect to Become a Pro Golfer
Born in Villa Allende in the province of Córdoba, Eduardo Romero became fascinated with golf at a tender age. And like other Argentine golf enthusiasts, he was a fan of Roberto De Vicenzo. However, he never expected to make a career out of it, given that he came from a family of modest means. So instead, he enlisted in Argentina’s military.
It was only when he turned 26 that he decided to pursue a golfing career after all. Luckily, finding success wasn’t all that difficult for him. Since his debut, he managed to snag 44 victories on the Argentine Tour. That’s second only to Roberto De Vicenzo’s record, by the way.
2. He Made Waves During Many European Tours
In 1985, around three years after he began his golfing career, Romero started competing at the European Tour. Over the next 13 years, he won the championship eight times, as well as made it to the Order of Merit’s top twenty list seven times.
During this period, Romero competed toe-to-toe with some of the biggest players of that time. Some of the most notable golfers he contended with include Jose Maria Olazabal, Seve Ballesteros, Bernhard Langer, and Colin Montgomerie.
By 2002, El Gato was the third oldest champion on the European Tour (after Des Smyth and Neil Coles). This also marked his final victory, when he won the 2002 Scottish Open.
3. He Earned His PGA Tour Status Twice
During the same 13-year period, Eduardo Romero also managed to earn his PGA Tour status twice. The first was during the 1986 season, and the second was during the 1995 season. Along the way, he participated in up to 96 PGA Tour events, with his best performance happening during the 1990 International.
By age 52, Romero was still playing at various PGA Tour Champions. His eighth start even saw him winning the 2006 JELD-WEN Tradition! He’ll go on to win four more times on the senior circuit, with his most notable performance being at the 2008 U.S. Senior Open at The Broadmoor. Interestingly, the winner’s trophy during the tournament is named after his idol De Vicenzo.
4. He Became Mayor of Villa Allende
When Romero’s golfing career ended, he decided to return to his hometown Villa Allende in Argentina. There he was elected as mayor for a few terms, serving until his health became worse.
Toward the end of his life, El Gato did his duty in Villa Allende. When announcing his health condition to the public, he even expressed resilience, saying that “This challenge strengthens me, as so many other obstacles have strengthened me in my personal life and in my sports career. With the support of my family, friends, my management team, the Villa community, and above all God, I have faith that I will get ahead”.
His death shocked not only the people of Villa Allende but also many of the Argentine politicians. Upon receiving news of his passing, the former president Mauricio Macri sent his condolences, saying, “Dear cat, we are going to miss you a lot. But you will continue to be present among us thanks to the example and the learning that you leave us.”
Eduardo Romero’s wake ceremony was held at the House of Culture of Villa Allende. He was later buried in the crematorium of the Parque Azul Cemetery near the neighboring town of Mendiolaza.
5. His Nickname is Thanks to His Victories
A lot of golfers earn nicknames due to their unique play style of habit while at the course. But Eduardo Romero’s case is a bit different. His nickname “El Gato”, which means “The Cat”, was largely thanks to the eight titles he won during his stint in the European Tour between 1989 and 2002.
Combined with his other achievements, this eight-win streak helped give him a smooth car-like impression. His fun, charismatic personality helped push this nickname even further, as many of his friends lovingly reminisce about their time with him.
“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 truly great ambassador for Argentina and for our game,” said Thomas Bjørn on Twitter.
Here’s to Eduardo “El Gato” Romero
As one of the leading golfers in South America, Eduardo Romero will be terribly missed. So let’s commemorate him by remembering his past achievements, as well as the facts listed above.