2000: Yoga-relaxed Romero wins in a rout

Crans-sur-Sierre, Switzerland

Yoga could become the next big craze on the European Tour. Argentina’s Eduardo Romero credited the ancient Hindu art with helping him win the Canon European Masters here Sept. 10.

While the rest of the European Tour was chasing Ryder Cup points, Romero ran away with the tournament. The popular Argentine led the tournament from wire to wire, shooting 23-under-par 261. That was good enough for a 10-shot victory over the rest of the field.

It was Romero’s first victory in six years and it was worth $218,551. His last victory came in this tournament in 1994.

Denmark’s Thomas Björn finished second at 13 under to earn $145,695.

Romero revealed in Switzerland that he began practicing yoga more than a year ago to overcome poor concentration. Every day he meditates for 30 minutes.

“I don’t know why my concentration was so bad,” he said. “I know it is completely different now because of my yoga. I’ve done it for one year and I am a completely different man.”

Romero certainly had no problem concentrating in Switzerland. “The key this week was concentration, especially today because I was eight shots in front, but I knew the tournament wasn’t over,” he said.

Romero said this victory was more satisfying than his win here in 1994 because of the changes made to the course.

“It’s more exciting because the greens are different,” he said. “The course is a little more hard than in 1994.”

Four-round totals of 23 under once were commonplace at Crans-sur-Sierre, but were thought impossible after Seve Ballesteros redesigned the greens two years ago. Ballesteros’ handiwork isn’t appreciated by the rank and file on the European Tour, who say he’s made the course too tough. But Romero wasn’t complaining.

The 46-year-old took the course apart with Swiss-like precision in the third round when he recorded a 9-under-par 62 on the 6,846-yard Crans layout. That set a course record and gave him an eight-shot cushion heading into the final round. He added a closing 67 to take the title.

Romero isn’t the oldest player to win on the European Tour. That achievement belongs to England’s Neil Coles, who won the 1982 Sanyo Open at 48.

Darren Clarke of Northern Ireland started the day in second place and looked as if he might shoot a low score to put pressure on Romero. But double-bogeys on two par-3s ruined his chances and he carded a 70.

His third-place finish brought him $82,088 and allowed him to move ahead of Lee Westwood at the top of the European Order of Merit.

Björn fired a closing 66 to take second. The Dane is having the best season of his life and is ranked fourth in the Order of Merit. He said Switzerland was just a continuation of his year. “I feel very comfortable out there,” he said. “I am playing solid and very happy with what I’m doing. I feel I am playing really well at the moment, so why stop now?”

Lee Westwood moved into contention with a second-round 66 to move to 7 under for the tournament. But three double-bogeys in the third round contributed to a 3-over-par 74 and put him out of contention.

Westwood fired a level par 71 to finish at 280, 19 shots behind Romero.

Nick Faldo of England finished in sixth place, his best finish of the season, earning him $42,617 and, more importantly, 48,750 Ryder Cup points.

The former world number one said he needs to improve on one area of his game before the end of the year.

“I need to make serious improvements from 120-130 yards in,” Faldo said. “If you said at the start of the week I’d finish 6th or 7th, that wouldn’t be bad. It’s part of the learning curve and I can definitely see areas of improvement.”

Maybe he should try yoga.





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