Sam Torrance ‘heartbroken’ by loss of ‘great friend’ Gordon Brand Jnr

The golfing world has been left stunned following the sudden death of former Ryder Cup player Gordon Brand Jnr at the age of 60 – a fortnight after he was working at the Open Championship at Royal Portrush in a broadcasting role.

Gordon Brand Jnr made more than 600 appearances across the European Tour and Staysure Tour. Picture: PA.
Gordon Brand Jnr made more than 600 appearances across the European Tour and Staysure Tour. Picture: PA.

Ryder Cup-winning captain Sam Torrance said he was “heartbroken” by the loss of “one of my dearest friends” while two-time major winner Sandy Lyle described the news as “very upsetting”.

Brand Jnr, who was born in Kirkcaldy but spent most of his life in the Bristol area, won eight times on the European Tour before landing two successes on the European Senior Tour after turning 50.

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He made his Ryder Cup debut in 1987 at Muirfield Village, where he helped Europe record a first win on American soil. Two years later, he was also a member of the side that retained the trophy in a 14-14 draw at The Belfry.

“Heart broken to hear of the passing of Gordon Brand Jnr one of my dearest friends for over 40 years, I will miss you RIP,” wrote Torrance, who partnered his fellow Scot to a one-hole win over Paul Azinger and Curtis Strange in the first-day fourballs in the 1989 Ryder Cup, on Twitter.

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Also responding on the social media site, Lyle said: “Very upsetting to hear the news of Gordon Brand Jnr’s sudden death. Your wit, humour and pranks always kept us on our toes and will be missed by us all.”

European Tour player Richie Ramsay also paid tribute to Brand Jnr, writing: “Sorry to hear this. Followed him when I was a youngster around the
@dunhilllinks. Always a name I would watch out for.”

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On a similar note, former US Open champion Justin Rose wrote: “So sad... I remember watching him play as a kid for the first time at the @BMWPGA and getting his signed golf ball on the 18th hole.”

Thomas Bjorn, last year’s winning Ryder Cup captain, said of Brand Jnr: “When I came on tour in 1996 this was one of the men that helped me understand what it was all about. A great man, a great friend,that has left us way too early.”

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Brand Jnr, the son of the club pro at Knowle in Bristol, enjoyed a glittering amateur career that included wins in the British Youths, English Stroke Play and Scottish Stroke Play. He played in the 1979 Walker Cup before turning professional two years later, winning the European Tour Qualifying School on his first visit.

He won two European Tour events in his rookie season – holding off Greg Norman in the Coral Classic and then adding the Bob Hope British Classic – and went on to accumulate eight wins on the tour in total, including the Panasonic European Open in 1984 and the Benson & Hedges International Open in 1987.

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The last of his main tour triumphs came in the GA European Open in 1993 while he also won the 1988 West End South Australian Open.

He made the top ten on the European Tour Order of Merit six times, with a best placing of fourth in 1987. His best finish in The Open was a share of fifth spot in 1992.

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He won twice on the European Senior Tour – the Jersey Classic in 2010 and the WINSTON golf Senior Open in 2013.