Sam Torrance appointed as Ryder Cup vice captain

Sam Torrance has been named as the fifth and final vice captain by European skipper Darren Clarke for the Ryder Cup at Hazeltine in September.

Sam Torrance, who was one of Paul McGinley's vice captains at Gleneagles, has been handed the same role by Darren Clarke for September's Ryder Cup at Hazeltine. Picture: Ian Rutherford

The winning captain in 2002 at The Belfry joins fellow Scot Paul Lawrie, Dane Thomas Bjorn, Irishman Padraig Harrington and Englishman Ian Poulter in Clarke’s backroom team for the match in Minnesota.

It will be the 62-year-old’s third stint as a vice captain, having first taken the role alongside Mark James at Brookline in 1999 helping Paul McGinley mastermind the win at Gleneagles at two years ago.

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“It goes without saying that I am very proud to be part of the backroom team for the 2016 Ryder Cup,” said Torrance, whose love affair with the biennial event was sparked

when he holed a putt at The Belfry in 1985. “It is a tremendous honour and as soon as Darren asked me, I had no hesitation in saying yes.

“I have known Darren for many years and have great respect for him 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.

“Obviously the Ryder Cup has been hugely important to me in my career, both as a player and a captain, and I am therefore really looking forward to adding another chapter to the story at Hazeltine.”

Between them, Torrance, Bjørn, Harrington, Lawrie and Poulter boast no fewer than 24 Ryder Cup appearances, giving Clarke bags of experience to lean on as he bids to steer Europe to a ninth win in 11 matches.

“I am absolutely delighted to name Sam as my fifth and final vice captain for the match at Hazeltine,” said Clarke. “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.

“On a personal level, I have known Sam virtually my entire golfing career, as well as being coached by his late father Bob for many years. In fact, I played with Sam as an amateur in my first appearance in a professional event – the Irish Open at Portmarnock in 1990.

“At the time I was considering staying amateur to play the Walker Cup the following year but, in his own inimitable style, Sam left me in no doubt that he felt I should turn professional as soon as possible– and I’m glad I did.

“I have tremendous respect for Sam as a person and in terms of The Ryder Cup, he was a fantastic captain in 2002. I cannot speak highly enough of the way he guided myself and the entire team that year in what were difficult circumstances after the 2001 contest was postponed. I know he will bring that same knowledge and guile again this time round.”

The appoinment of Torrance points to Lee Westwood, who’d been mentioned as a possible vice captain if he’d not returned to form this season, being earmarked for one of Clarke’s three wild-cards if the Englishman fails to qualify automatically.