Sam's deserved honour

But who's next?

Bob Warters's picture
Tue, 31 Dec 2002

Sam Torrance OBE.

Having just watched a re-run of ‘How we won the Ryder Cup’ I can see the logic in awarding Europe’s captain Sam Torrance an OBE in the New Year honours list.

He was certainly an inspiration to the team that beat the US comprehensively on that shining September afternoon at The Belfry and a master tactician.

Though modestly he says ‘All I did was lead my team to water and they drank copiously’ it was his clever man-management and his passion to succeed which won the day and regained the trophy.

Curtis Strange admitted ‘Sam threw me a few curve balls’ with his selections, which unsettled his US team of champions, but in the end it was the European players who responded to a captain for whom they had the greatest respect.

Torrance, who admitted ‘I won’t take on the captaincy again, my job’s done’ said of his award: "It's a tremendous honour that marks a tremendous week and a fantastic team performance. I'm still getting letters about the match from all parts of the world and all walks of life. I hadn’t realised the matches were watched by over a billion people.

"But I woke up every morning feeling brand new. Having been a player for so long (he was awarded the MBE for his services to the European Tour in 1996) it was a totally different pressure being captain, but I felt it was really not much pressure at all - once the matches were under way it was out of my hands." 0

Torrance revealed that the week had gone off like a dream – apart from one incident when Jesper Parnevik ran out of his room naked because he thought a bomb had hit part of The De Vere Belfry hotel on the Sunday before the matches started.

Parnevik had been in New York on September 11, 2001, less than a mile from where terrorists flew two airliners into the World Trade Centre. But in fact, the rumble the Swede had heard was the minor earthquake, which had its epicentre at nearby Dudley in the West Midlands.

Former Ryder Cup captains Tony Jacklin, Bernard Gallacher, Bernard Hunt and John Jacobs have all been honoured similarly by the Queen as have Ian Woosnam, Sandy Lyle, Colin Montgomerie, Nick Faldo, Paul Lawrie, Alison Nicholas, Laura Davies, Mickey Walker and Sir Michael Bonallack for their services to the game.

A couple of obvious omissions include broadcaster and former Ryder Cup player Peter Alliss and possibly our greatest amateur golfer of all time, Gary Wolstenholme.



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