LONDON (Reuters) – European Ryder Cup skipper Darren Clarke named Sam Torrance on Wednesday as his fifth vice-captain for September’s match against the United States.
The 62-year-old Torrance, a veteran of eight Ryder Cups as a player and the winning captain in 2002, will work alongside Thomas Bjorn, Padraig Harrington, Paul Lawrie and Ian Poulter in Clarke’s support team.
“It is a tremendous honor and as soon as Darren asked me, I had no hesitation in saying yes,” Torrance told the Ryder Cup website (www.rydercup.com).
“I have great respect for Darren 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.”
Scotsman Torrance played in eight consecutive Ryder Cups between 1981 and 1995, helping Europe win or retain the trophy four times. He holed the winning putt in 1985 at The Belfry which was also the scene of his success as captain in 2002.
“I am absolutely delighted to name Sam as my fifth and final vice-captain for the match at Hazeltine,” Clarke said.
“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.”
Scotsman Torrance, who holds the record for the number of European Tour appearances, was previously a Ryder Cup vice-captain under Mark James, in 1999, and Paul McGinley two years ago.
“He was a wonderful captain to play under at The Belfry. He was very, very thorough,” Clarke said.
“Everybody that played under him enjoyed the whole week, because it can be a difficult week at times. But Sam put everybody at ease and made everybody feel very, very comfortable.”
Clarke admitted that something unexpected could happen during the week.
“I think to have somebody of Sam’s experience in the back room who has been through everything himself can only benefit me,” he said.
“If something comes up and I need his wisdom and guidance, I can’t think of a better man to have there.”
(Reporting by Neville Dalton, editing by Ed Osmond)