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September 24, 2002

Sam Torrance


GORDON SIMPSON: We have here Sam Torrance. The guys are all out on the course today. What's your initial thoughts on what you've seen? Obviously the course is in great shape.

SAM TORRANCE: The course is magnificent, the best I've ever seen it, all the Benson & Hedges, and Ryder Cups, the greenskeeper has done a magnificent job. Very fair, very testing. I've got the pairings out there I want in the morning. Everything is going well.

Q. I noticed you met the American players at the 9th green apologizing to them about the slow play. Any concerns about the pace or the boys just moving slow this morning?

SAM TORRANCE: No, you've got to understand it's the first practice day. I think the mistake was putting the two teams out directly behind each other; there should have been a half hour gap. They're going to take some time. It's the first practice round for the Ryder Cup. I'm not concerned about the speed of play.

Q. That was a gesture on your part to --?

SAM TORRANCE: Kind of. I just thought it was right.

Q. Sam, Curtis came in and was talking about the decision to move the tee at the 10th back, saying that he was slightly disappointed by that.


Q. Exactly. Can you --?

SAM TORRANCE: My idea there was in the old days when we first played the Ryder Cups here, it was probably, depending on the wind off the front tee, a good, hard 3-wood or sometimes an easy driver. At the Benson & Hedges this year we played off that tee, and some guys were playing a 3-iron. That's not a golf hole for a par-4. The technology has taken over. We've reverted back to the back tee, and it's possible to knock it on from there. The hole you had this week will be equivalent to the hole you had from '85 and onwards.

Q. Was part of your decision there also to take advantage away from the United States team?

SAM TORRANCE: Why? What advantage have I taken away?

Q. They have several long hitters?

SAM TORRANCE: They're off the back tee, that's going to give them an advantage.

Q. But they may not go for it?

SAM TORRANCE: That's up to them. If you tell me they're longer, it's surely advantageous to them.

Q. Will you change it for later on in the matches?

SAM TORRANCE: I believe I could.

Q. Likely?

SAM TORRANCE: Highly unlikely.

Q. How are your rookies adapting, and what kind of advice have you given them and have any of them gone a little crazy?

SAM TORRANCE: No, they're playing great out there. Fulke and Price were 5-up in their match. The other ones were -- I think Fasth was losing. But they're doing great. Very relaxed. They've all watched the Ryder Cup many times. They're very much ready.

Q. But thinking back to your rookie year, everybody says you can't -- you can't tell somebody what it's like, you just have to experience it.

SAM TORRANCE: My memory is not that good, I'm afraid. But I can give you -- when David Faherty was my dearest friend who made the team in '91, he asked me what was it like? And he has children very similar to ages of mine. It's like having a child, you cannot explain to a child what it's like having a child, until you have a child. You cannot explain the unique atmosphere that's out at the Ryder Cup.

Q. You're not worried about it?


Q. How much can we read into the practice pairings today?

SAM TORRANCE: Oh, a lot. A lot. Obviously I'm trying to put pairings out there I'll use Friday and Saturday. But they are four balls, and you don't know who is playing with who.

Q. Bernard Langer is playing in his 10th Ryder Cup. Can you tell me what he gives to the team, what is so special about Mr. Langer?

SAM TORRANCE: Well, obviously a lot of experience. He's a world class golfer, has been for a number of years. I think he was quite disappointed to not make the last Ryder Cup team. And to make this one, he did it on his own merit, he did it himself, there was no picks. He brings a lot to the team, someone that everyone will look up to.

Q. Slow playing was a bit evident last time, accusations of slow playing. Did you have any input in the change of rules?

SAM TORRANCE: No, that was brought to me by the Tour, and taken to Curtis, it didn't come to either side. I think it finally came to a head at the Seve Trophy, when they were taking six hours for fourball, just too long. I know the weather was horrific, and there were tough conditions, but that's too long.

Q. You were involved at Brookline, there was no ploy to tell the Europeans to slow down and take the steam out of the Americans, was there?

SAM TORRANCE: Absolutely not. Absolutely not. There will be this time, though (laughter.)

Q. On Sunday evening, Monty led us to believe that he would like to play with Langer. Has he said that to you?

SAM TORRANCE: Oh, he told you on Sunday evening. I thought he wanted to play with him on Sunday evening. He can do that if he likes. That's certainly something I'm looking at.

Q. If the 10th tee was the most obviously tactical decision, what other ones have there been?

SAM TORRANCE: Single file after 280. No, that's not true. Nothing, really. There's not much rough around the greens. I think the Americans are the greatest proponents of that shot. We've got about 10, 15 yards very light rough around the green. So there's not going to be many flop shots played. And that's about it, really.

Q. The lineup you expect to field on Friday morning, would it be identical to the one that would have taken the field this time last year?

SAM TORRANCE: Impossible to say. I actually -- I couldn't find them. I had it all written out, last year's Ryder Cup. And I hid it away somewhere. I'm very good at hiding things and I spent three days looking for it, and I couldn't find it. I have no idea what my pairings were for the last one. But I'm pretty sure about this one.

Q. Can you talk about having Mark James on your side and what that might mean to help you for this team?

SAM TORRANCE: He's a great man to have on your side, that's why he's there.

Q. How much would it mean to him to be a winning Ryder Cup team this year, especially?

SAM TORRANCE: I think that's why we're all here, is to be on a winning Ryder Cup team. What's in the past is in the past. He's been on another winning Ryder Cup team. But he certainly wants to win this one. He's very knowledgeable, Mark. He's a very good back room boy. He's great with the youngsters, he's good with team meetings. He's good at it all. He actually should be here doing it, really.

Q. Sam, how important was it to have the opportunity at the Benson & Hedges International to have your team here? We saw you in practice then actually going over the course, consultations on a lot of the par-5s and things like that. A lot more than just trimming the rough around the greens has been done, hasn't it?

SAM TORRANCE: It's been unique this year, we've had a fantastic opportunity. We've known the team for a year. As many times as we could get together over the year as possible we've done it and used it to our advantage. It's been great to play the course a few times. And to hear what they're thinking. And try to get the course the way they want it.

Q. In the preparation of the course, is that a major advantage this week?

SAM TORRANCE: Of course, it's home advantage, what home advantage is, yeah. I mean there's nothing untoward out there; it's all perfectly fair. But as far as I can see, I've tried to set it up to suit the European players.

Q. You have actually grown the rough or asked for the rough to be grown in in certain place, haven't you?

A. Yes.

Q. Is there any specific areas where it has been grown in?

SAM TORRANCE: Out there somewhere, probably about 290 somewhere, 300. But, yeah, of course. There's certain holes with technology that certain bunkers don't really come into play anymore. It would be like the 9th, that just fly over that left trap and have a sand wedge into the green. So we grew up the rough there to stop that happening, and make the hole play the way it's supposed to be played.

Q. There's been so many yardages for the 10th, what is it now?

SAM TORRANCE: I think it's 255 or 245 to the front, from the back edge. 45 or 55, I'm not certain.

Q. Do you have any particular memories of it, of how many times you've been on it from the tee?

SAM TORRANCE: Quite a lot. Yes, I actually -- no, I'm not going to say that. I've hit it on a few times. And probably before Mr. Ballesteros did, but never mind.

End of FastScripts....

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