Faldo did 'great job' says Torrance
SAM Torrance has emerged as an unlikely defender of Nick Faldo's performance as Ryder Cup captain following Europe's defeat by America in Kentucky last weekend.
Torrance, who skippered Europe to victory at the Belfry in 2002, has not always seen eye to eye with Faldo, and last year branded the Englishman's decision to name Paul McGinley and Jose Maria Olazabal as his vice-captains a full 16 months before the event as "horrific".
However, he has leapt to Faldo's defence after Europe's defeat by 16 to 11 points. He did concede that Faldo "might have to work on his speech-writing". This was in reference to the captain's performance during the opening ceremony at Valhalla last Thursday, when he made what was generally felt to be a toe-curling contribution.
But Torrance had no truck with Faldo's tactics, and he also admitted his choice of Ian Poulter in place of Darren Clarke had been proved the correct one by the former's performance over the three days. "I would not have done anything differently," said Torrance. "I think Faldo did a great job. He might have to work on his speech-making – I thought that wasn't very good. But on the golf course I don't think he put a foot wrong."
Torrance added that Faldo was right to leave his big guns waiting until the end of the singles matches on the last day, despite his own decision to load his top order with the best players six years ago. "In Faldo's situation, he was two points behind," said Torrance, whose team were level with America going into the last day. "(If Europe were going to win] It was always going to come down to the last three, and I think he was right to put a bit of strength there."
Torrance's views on Faldo at the Ryder Cup are shared by Hunter Mahan, one of the victorious American team. Speaking at the Tour Championship yesterday, Mahan said: "Nick Faldo, who's a Ryder Cup legend, won more points on the European side than anybody (as a player] and they're crucifying him right now. You definitely feel for him, because he definitely doesn't deserve all that."
Torrance ruled himself out from a return to the captain's role but said he would like see fellow Scot Sandy Lyle given the honour at Celtic Manor in 2010. Lyle officially threw his hat into the ring yesterday after winning the backing of Colin Montgomerie earlier this week. "I really appreciate Colin's kind words – it means a great deal that a man who has been so successful in Ryder Cup competitions should endorse my candidacy as Ryder Cup captain," said Lyle. "I would be delighted and honoured to take on the challenge of captaining the European team at Celtic Manor in 2010."
Lyle was criticised in July for walking out of The Open at Birkdale during the bad weather of the first morning. "I'm thick-skinned, not generally a quitter. Hopefully it won't leave any scars as far as being a Ryder Cup captain."
On Faldo's tactics in the five-point defeat at the weekend – he gambled by putting Ian Poulter, Lee Westwood and Padraig Harrington at the tail of his singles order, Lyle stated: "I know what Nick was trying to think – to load his team lower down. But unfortunately the tournament was over before the main guys got in there."
Torrance believes it will be "nice to see Sandy get it" at Celtic Manor. "He deserves the captaincy, and I dont know when else he is going to get it if not then." Torrance did, however, state that Ian Woosnam, who captained Europe to victory in 2006 at the K Club in Ireland, was an "ideal candidate" to reprise the role in his home country, where he would be the perfect man to rouse the supporters. "The crowd was hugely influential in America," he said.
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Weather for Edinburgh
Saturday 18 May 2013
Temperature: 9 C to 13 C
Wind Speed: 18 mph
Wind direction: North east
Temperature: 9 C to 18 C
Wind Speed: 8 mph
Wind direction: North east