Darren Clarke, the European Captain for The 2016 Ryder Cup, has named Sam Torrance as his fifth and final Vice Captain for the match against the United States at Hazeltine National in September.
The 62 year old Scotsman will bring not only a wealth of experience to Clarke’s backroom team – having played for Europe on eight consecutive occasions between 1981 and 1995 – he will also bring the knowledge of what it takes to be a winning captain in the biennial contest, having led Europe to victory at The Belfry in 2002.
It was also at the English venue that Torrance enjoyed his greatest Ryder Cup moment as a player when, in 1985, he holed his famous curling putt across the 18th green to beat Andy North and secure the winning point as Europe went on to record a 16 ½ – 11 ½ triumph.
The man who still holds the record number of European Tour appearances with 706, also knows what it takes to succeed in the Ryder Cup arena in the US, having been part of the team which won at Muirfield Village in 1987 – the 15-13 success representing Europe’s first triumph on American soil.
It will be Torrance’s third stint as a European Vice Captain, having first taken the role alongside Mark James at Brookline in 1999, before resurrecting the role two years ago as part of Paul McGinley’s backroom team at Gleneagles.
Torrance said: “It goes without saying that I am very proud to be part of the backroom team for The 2016 Ryder Cup. It is a tremendous honour and as soon as Darren asked me, I had no hesitation in saying yes.
“I have known Darren for many years and have great respect for him and all that he has achieved in the game. I think you can see in all the hard work and attention to detail he has put in already that he will be a great captain and he knows he can count on me to be of service to the team in any way I can.
“Obviously The Ryder Cup has been hugely important to me in my career, both as a player and a captain, and I am therefore really looking forward to adding another chapter to the story at Hazeltine.”
Torrance joins Thomas Bjørn, Padraig Harrington, Paul Lawrie and Ian Poulter in a formidable backroom team bound for Minnesota, a quintet which, between them, boasts no fewer than 24 Ryder Cup appearances.
Captain Clarke said: “I am absolutely delighted to name Sam as my fifth and final Vice Captain for the match at Hazeltine. There is nothing in terms of The Ryder Cup that he hasn’t seen, done, or been part of since he first played in the contest 35 years ago and I know that experience will be vital to everyone involved with Team Europe this time round.
“On a personal level, I have known Sam virtually my entire golfing career, as well as being coached by his late father Bob for many years. In fact, I played with Sam as an amateur in my first appearance in a professional event – the Irish Open at Portmarnock in 1990.
“At the time I was considering staying amateur to play the Walker Cup the following year but, in his own inimitable style, Sam left me in no doubt that he felt I should turn professional as soon as possible– and I’m glad I did.
“I have tremendous respect for Sam as a person and in terms of The Ryder Cup, he was a fantastic captain in 2002. I cannot speak highly enough of the way he guided myself and the entire team that year in what were difficult circumstances after the 2001 contest was postponed. I know he will bring that same knowledge and guile again this time round.”