8am Round-Up: Sam Torrance calls for two-shot slow-play penalties

Sam Torrance says slow play has been a problem throughout his career. Picture: Brian Spurlock
Sam Torrance says slow play has been a problem throughout his career. Picture: Brian Spurlock
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Sam Torrance reckons hitting players with a penalty that costs them a chance of winning is the only way to tackle slow play in golf.

“They’ve been talking about this for 45 years,” said Torrance, speaking during a visit to his home town of Largs to announce the Gillian’s Saltire Appeal and Maggie’s as the official charities for this year’s $7 million Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open at Dundonald Links.

“Shots is the only way to stop it, two shots. Look at Bernhard Langer. £1,000 means nothing to him. Give him two shots and he goes from second to 20th. Then there’s no chance of winning. That’s what hurts them.”

Under Keith Pelley’s leadership, the European Tour has been trying to speed up its players and Korea’s Soomin Lee was penalised during last week’s Volvo China Open.

However, Torrance, who made more than 700 European Tour appearances, believes players have “mastered” the system.

“The referees come along and they speed up,” he observed. “Then, when the referee buggers off, they slow down.”

The R&A and USGA announced earlier this week that they are revieweing the use of greens maps after becoming “concerned” how they are taking the skill out of putting.

“No, the crossword is hard enough for me,” replied Torrance when asked if he’d ever used the detailed graphs to read the line of a putt.

“What’s wrong with just looking at the green and seeing it. It’s about feel. But that’s modern technology. They use it for every thing in every walk of life.”

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Scotland’s Richie Ramsay and Marc Warren will face Belgium, represented by Nicolas Colsaerts and Thomas Dietry, in their opening match in the new GolfSixes tournament on Saturday.

Ramsay and Warren will then face Spain, who have Pablo Larrazabal and Alejandro Canizares in their team, at the Centuron Club in St Albans before concluding the round-robin phase against Thai pair Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Thongchai Jaidee.

The top two teams from the group will progress to the knockout stage on Sunday.

The full draw is:

Session One

10.30-11.45 England v India; 10:45-12.00 Denmark v The Netherlands; 11.00-12.15 Thailand v Spain; 11.15-12.30 Scotland v Belgium; 11.30-12.45 Australia v USA; 11:45-13.00 Wales v Portugal; 12.00-13.15 South Africa v Italy; 12.15-13.30 Sweden v France

Session Two

12:35-13.50 England v Denmark; 12:50-14.05 The Netherlands v India; 13:05-14.20 Thailand v Belgium; 13:20-14.35 Spain v Scotland; 13:35-14.50 Wales v USA; 13:50-15.05 Australia v Portugal; 14.05-15.20 France v Italy; 14:20-15:35 South Africa v Sweden

Session Three

14:40-15:55 Denmark v India; 14:55-16:10 England v The Netherlands; 15:10-16:25 Belgium v Spain; 15:25-16:40 Thailand v Scotland; 15:40-16:55 Australia v Wales

15:55-17:10 USA v Portugal; 16:10-17:25 Sweden v Italy; 16:25-17:40 South Africa v France

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Bruce Mitchell will become the first Canadian to captain The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews when he takes up the post in September.

Mitchell, a renowned businessman, has been a member of the historic club since 1988.

In 2001, he won both The Queen Victoria Jubilee Vase and The Royal Sydney Plate, two match-play knockout competitions played during the club’s Autumn Meeting.

The 71-year-old will begin his year in office with the traditional driving-in ceremony on the first tee of the Old Course on 22 September.

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Clarke Lutton was the last Scot standing in the MENA Tour’s Mahasamutr Masters after James Byrne missed the cut despite his promising start.

Byrne, who is based in Thailand, had opened with a 69 to sit just two shots off the lead before crashing to an 80 in the second round at Banyan Golf Club in Hua Hin.

Lutton made it into today’s final circuit after rounds of 72 an 76 but was 10 shots off the lead, held by Thai Jazz Janewattananond (70-68).

Musselburgh man Lee Harper, the third Scot in the field, joined Byrne in making an early exit after rounds of 80 and 73.