Sam Torrance has been made an honorary life member of the European Tour in recognition of his long list of achievements in the game.
The accolade was granted to the 63-year-old from Largs by chief executive Keith Pelley at a dinner at Wentworth ahead of the BMW PGA Championship starting there tomorrow.
Torrance becomes the 52nd player on an illustrious list that includes the likes of Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Seve Ballesteros, Tom Watson and Nick Faldo.
He’s the fifth Scot to receive the honour after Sandy Lyle (1985), Montgomerie (1997), Paul Lawrie (1999) and Bernard Gallacher (2003).
“I should really be honouring the European Tour for giving me such an arena to play golf,” said Torrance. What a life, what a journey. It has been so rewarding – the people I’ve met, the places, I’ve been.”
“Coached by his father Bob, Torrance turned professional at the age of 16 and joined the European Tour the following year. He achieved his first professional win in 1972 - the first of 21 victories on the circuit - and won the Sir Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year award that same year.
He holds the record for the most career appearances on the European Tour, with over 700 events.
Torrance also recorded 11 victories on the European Senior Tour and, of course, is a Ryder Cup legend. He was part of the famous 1985 winning team, sinking the wining putt at The Belfry to secure a first victory for Europe in 28 years. He later guided Europe to victory in the event in 2002 at the same venue.
“The Ryder Cup captaincy was definitely the highlight of my career, but I’ve got many memories,” he added. “I won the Australian PGA in 1980, which to this day is still my biggest win. I played with Seve the last two rounds. Seve finished second, Greg Norman finished third. I beat the pair of them and when I came off the last green, Seve said, “hey Sam, you’re very tough to beat”.
“For someone as legendary as that to say that to me, it gave me so much confidence. Up to that point I’d only won twice and hadn’t played in the Ryder Cup yet. I went on to win a few and play in a few Ryder Cups and a lot was down to that great man.”
Torrance was honoured with the MBE (1996) and OBE (2003) for his outstanding contributions to golf.
His latest honour was welcomed by 2014 Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley and Thomas Bjorn, the man who will try and win back that trophy in France next year.
“Congrats and so well deserved @torrancesam,” McGinley penned on Twitter. “Bob is looking on with great pride to your career of success, longevity & love of golf.”
Also responding on the social media site, Bjorn described Torrance as a “legend, hero, captain and friend” before adding: “I couldn’t think of a man that deserves this more.”
Duncan Stewart is one spot away from getting into the BMW PGA Championship, the opening Rolex Series event.
The Edinburgh-based Highlander has moved to first reserve for the $7 million event, which gets underway at Wentworth tomorrow.
Stewart will become the ninth Scot in the field if someone drops out either today or before starting their round tomorrow.
Richie Ramsay, Marc Warren, Scott Jamieson, David Drysdale, Paul Lawrie, Stephen Gallacher, Graham Fox and Greig Hutcheon are already in the line-up.
Fox and Hutcheon are among the group of PGA pros who have earned the chance to earn some serious money this weekend.
Blane Dodds believes better times lie ahead for the women’s amateur game in the home of golf after seeing “positive signs” in his first 11 months as Scottish Golf’s chief executive.
Dodds was responding to the disappointment of a single Scot being among 28 players selected for Great Britain & Ireland duty in the Vagliano Trophy and Junior Vagliano Trophy later this year.
That blow followed exactly the same thing happening at the Curtis Cup last year, leaving captain Elaine Farquharson-Black to provide the only tartan touch in Ireland.
“We’re aware of the challenges in the female game in Scotland, but are seeing positive signs,” insisted Dodds. “At performance level, we have been encouraged by the performances from a number of players this year, including teenager Shannon McWilliam, who was runner-up in a strong field at the Helen Holm Women’s Scottish Open.
“Post-amalgamation, we’ve been working hard to provide more opportunities for women and girls, including on winter camps with their male counterparts. One priority for us is to also allow the girls to test themselves outwith Scotland and gain experience. We have an under-16 match against England in September, as well as opportunities for under-14 players in Ireland and England this year.
“We have also been running 36-hole development events at quiet periods to give younger girls more competitive opportunities. We are seeing signs of progress with three Scottish Golf Academy players winning their Women’s County Championships – Jillian Farrell, Kirsten Brown and Anna MacKay. We have seen the likes of professionals Pamela Pretswell, Kylie Walker, Kelsey MacDonald and Sally Watson come through the amateur ranks and hopefully others follow over time.”
There was a three-way tie at the top of the leaderboard in the latest Big Johnson’s Tour event at The Roxburghe, near Kelso.
Louis Gaughan, Johnny Mullaney and Ryan Campbell shared the first prize after the trio carded matching four-under 68s at the Borders venue.