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July 11, 2006

Sam Torrance


GORDON SIMPSON: Most of you have had a chance to digest the information from the statistician, Steve Dougherty. It seems you've walked one and a half times round the world around the world and out here playing golf so the question is probably, why do you keep going?

SAM TORRANCE: It's amazing to think when you look at something like this, you think, Christ All Mighty, if you were starting tomorrow and you thought you'd be playing that many, you'd be in a white jacket in about four years. I don't want to discuss it like I'm finished because I'm nowhere near finished. I'm still going strong. But it's been fantastic 35 years. I have many people to thank, my dad probably primarily for giving me the swing that I've got and making it last this long. But golf is the biggest thing I want to thank because it's given me an unbelievable life, lots of highs, lots of lows and lots of fun. Hopefully over my career I've given something back to the many followers that I've had for 35 years who have made life a lot easier on the course. But it's been great.

GORDON SIMPSON: you say you're to the finished yet. Still contending on the Senior Tour, and as you showed at Gleneagles, doing well on the main tour.

SAM TORRANCE: Not too bad.

Q. You didn't win an Open, so is the British Senior Open a big goal?

SAM TORRANCE: Absolutely. Especially this year. The British Senior Open would be fantastic. I love the course (Turnberry. And it is the British Open.

Q. Inaudible?

SAM TORRANCE: My whole life.

Q. What would you say is the highlight of your career?

SAM TORRANCE: Being captain of the Ryder Cup is without a doubt the highlight, the captaincy, without a doubt, by a million, million miles. I can't really explain why. It was just different. Probably wasn't my vocation.

And the Australian PGA always comes up in my mind as my best win, a huge event played on a fantastic course, and Greg Norman and Seve finished second and third behind me when they were in their prime.

The Irish Opens were very special. Anything I've won has been special, but the Irish Opens, they play like a major, Portmarnock with the crowds there, it's just like a British Open. That was very special. The Scottish Championships that I won.

Q. You won five of them?

SAM TORRANCE: Six, might be five but it's definitely not four. (Laughter) and it's definitely not that.

Q. I would imagine being captain was special because of the preparation whereas as a player you just showed up and played?

SAM TORRANCE: No, I don't think it was that. It was just a wonderful feeling, all it brings up, the extra year, everything. They are all pretty much I was in the limelight for three years and that was fantastic. I don't care what anyone says, we all love the limelight and it was great. The whole thing. Just the friends I made and support, well wishers, the whole week went just unbelievably perfect start to finish.

Q. What's the difference from being a player on the team?

SAM TORRANCE: I think in playing you're under so much pressure when you're not playing for Europe and you're playing for a team and at the end of a round of to go to a team room and face the player. Whereas captain, honestly in all my events, however many there's been, I was never as calm as I was for the captaincy of the Ryder Cup. Whether it was the fact that I wasn't playing or didn't have to worry about playing or the fact that I had 12 great men playing for Europe and for me, and it was just easy to watch them play.

Q. Inaudible?

SAM TORRANCE: As captain? I expected us to play as well as we did.

Q. Would you say the biggest disappointment was missing out on the Order of Merit in 1995?

SAM TORRANCE: Yeah, that was a big disappointment, since been rectified (on the Seniors Tour). Getting there this year but not won it yet. Yeah, the Order of Merit to, win the Order of Merit, would have been something,. That and winning the Open.

GORDON SIMPSON: That was the year you had your best chance, wasn't it?

SAM TORRANCE: No question it was my best chance. The disappointment of watching the ball in the air at the 17th at Valderrama when it hit the bank short of the green and stopped, I knew, like, please, don't b e Monty, but there he was in the junk. That was my chance and I missed out by one shot at the end of a long season. But, that's golf.

Q. The Open in 1995 was a real chance?

SAM TORRANCE: Yes, the closest was John Daly's win at St. Andrews. I think he had three 3 putts and a 4 putt around the Loop. It was too windy for the long putter and I coulnd't handle it. I think I finished 9th or something, that was the nearest I came to winning it. That was '95. I had some good finishes but never really got close on the last day.

In 1981 I might have had a chance to win at Sandwich - Bill Rogers' year. . At 16 and 17, hit a 7 iron in and they come up short. Needed to finish 3 4 to put pressure on Rogers. The way I was playing, that was a very good chance to win.

Q. Would you trade the winning Captaincy for a Claret Jug?

SAM TORRANCE: No, that's a question I couldn't answer.

Q. Have you a view on why there seem to be so few Scots doing well at the moment. Maybe only three in the Open?

SAM TORRANCE: Three or four years ago, England had one golfer in the top 100 in the World Ranking and that was Lee Westwood. Now look at them. These things come in cycles. I think Scotland will have the same thing and young kids like Lloyd Saltman and Eric Ramsey could be the answer.. There's a whole bunch of them. And watching my son Daniel in the Scottish Boys, I've seen some great golf at that level.

Q. Inaudible?

SAM TORRANCE: No. Absolutely. It just comes in waves. There's a lot to making it happen. Good strokes and good days, it will definitely happen for Scotland.

Q. You and Monty didn't come through a system. You were just good players who made it?

SAM TORRANCE: It's not like America where they have got it in school. That's why Sweden has become so strong; they have got a great base and great scholarships and coaching for kids. You know, it's a well played sport now. It's almost up there with football with what they want to do when they are young.

Q. Hale Irwin was saying that in the US there a lot of young players all much the same with the same swings�

SAM TORRANCE: Well, they are all bloody good though. I disagree with Hale there. I think that there's a lot more in the technology and the teaching and swinging the club. If you along that range you'll see 15 swings there as good as you'll ever see in your life. I don't want to name names, funny swings of great players, you've still got a few, Furyk, very individual swing, and it used to be an Irish thing. A lot of these players would have weird swings but they worked.

Now with modern technology and equipment and teaching facilities, videos, the player can send it back to his coach and say, what's going on. It's definitely an improvement to me, whether it's the personalities are gone, I don't know, but it's a hard life now. You know. It's tougher to get exempt. It's tough to stay in there. The kids they are playing and it was never that easy especially when you struggled.

Q. What knowledge did your dad impart which has been the most important?

SAM TORRANCE: Shoulder turn I think was my greatest asset. My father taught me that at a very early age, like nine, ten, and said hit as far as you can and we'll straighten it out later. Still waiting for the bugger to straighten it out. Definitely it's my best asset to my game because it takes a lot of unnecessary energy out of the swing. It's just good blood, good stock.

Q. Does it take the pressure off the back?

SAM TORRANCE: I don't know, you can ask a coach, but touch wood, I've never had back problems.

Q. If you had one place to play for the rest of your life, where would it be?

SAM TORRANCE: St. Andrews. St. Andrews, yeah, definitely. I also think the Open should stay there. There's nothing like it in golf for the Open at St. Andrews. There is absolutely nothing like it, the atmosphere, the test of golf. It will never happen. Augusta, it's played there every year. They seem to manage quite well St. Andrews, home of golf, I'd like to see it. I'd like an invite next year to suggest it. (Laughter)

Q. You didn't have the chance to qualify this year?

SAM TORRANCE: It's the way things are now, if you have 50, you don't get points. I couldn't even get to qualifying at Sunningdale; and I know it pretty well, I think I'd have a very good chance of qualifying but I couldn't get in.

I think last year I was fourth reserve again. After a year having no World Ranking points, I wasn't even close to getting entry. That's the way it is. It's probably not right but I don't see how they can correct it. You can't really give seniors World Ranking points. It's a difficult one. I could get in on the regular tour, like if I had finished at Gleneagles not so much World Ranking points but I would have been qualified.

Q. What is the best and worst things you've seen over the years? Start with the best�

SAM TORRANCE: What's changed is the condition of courses. They are manicured and just the way they are set up and the quality of the courses you play now. You just want for nothing, you play in fantastic conditions every week.

Q. And the worst?

SAM TORRANCE: The Press (laughter). No, only joking..

I don't think anything has changed for the worst.

Q. Apart from the Press?

SAM TORRANCE: Of course, the price of bloody hotel rooms, getting on flights. Nothing has changed for the worst to be honest inaudible. 35,000, it was straight out of my bank account. It was a bet or something like that. They just went into the bank account.

Q. What did you do with that first cheque for £35.10?

SAM TORRANCE: Put it in the bank. No, think I put it towards a scooter, a little Vaspa with the wing mirrors. The following year my dad sent down my first car from Scotland, a Vanden Plas - great little car - to Sunningdale, had a little car and my Uncle Billy drove it down and blew the gasket or something like that, cost me a couple hundred quid to fix it.

Q. And what did you drive up here last night?

SAM TORRANCE: A nice 7 Series BMW. You could have put the Vanden Plas in the boot!(Laughter).

GORDON SIMPSON: Sam, thank you. Thanks for coming in.

End of FastScripts.

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