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Sam Torrance
Sam Torrance.JPG
At the Dutch Seniors Open 2010
Personal information
Full nameSamuel Robert Torrance OBE
Born (1953-08-24) 24 August 1953 (age 68)
Largs, Scotland
Height5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)
Sporting nationality Scotland
ResidenceVirginia Water, England
(m. 1988)
Turned professional1970
Former tour(s)European Tour
European Senior Tour
Champions Tour
Professional wins44
Highest ranking13 (3 December 1995)[1]
Number of wins by tour
European Tour21 (Tied 10th all time)
PGA Tour of Australasia1
Challenge Tour1
European Senior Tour11 (3rd all time)
Best results in major championships
Masters TournamentT31: 1985
PGA ChampionshipT23: 1995
U.S. OpenT16: 1996
The Open Championship5th: 1981
Achievements and awards
Officer of the Most
Excellent Order of
the British Empire
Sir Henry Cotton
Rookie of the Year
European Senior Tour
Order of Merit winner
2005, 2006, 2009

Samuel Robert Torrance OBE (born 24 August 1953) is a Scottish professional golfer and sports commentator. He was one of the leading players on the European Tour from the mid-1970s to the late 1990s, with 21 Tour wins. Torrance was a member of European Ryder Cup teams on eight occasions consecutively; on Cup-winning teams four times. He was also part of the winning Scotland team at the 1995 Dunhill Cup. He was the winning non-playing captain of the European Ryder Cup team in 2002. Torrance was honoured with the MBE (1996) and OBE (2003), for his outstanding contributions to golf.

Early life

Torrance was born and grew up in Largs on the westcoast of Scotland, playing golf at Routenburn Golf Club, near his family home. His father Bob (1932-2014) was a highly respected golf instructor[2] who coached son Sam from childhood.

Torrance represented Scotland against England at Boy's International Match at Hillside, Southport, England in August 1970.

He turned professional at the age of 17, and his first job was at Sunningdale, where he used to play for money with members, which was much needed because he was paid only £5 a week as an assistant professional.[3]

Professional career

European Tour

In 1970, Torrance joined the tour, which officially became the European Tour in 1972. He achieved his first professional win in 1972, and won the Sir Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year award in the same year. He recorded his first European Tour win in 1976.

He won 21 times on the European Tour; only fellow Scot Colin Montgomerie has accumulated more European Tour titles without winning one of golf's four major championships. His best finish on the European Tour Order of Merit was second, which he achieved in 1984 and 1995. In total, he finished in the top-10 on the list 10 times. He previously held the record for the most career appearances on the European Tour, with 706. At the 2020 Hero Open, Miguel Ángel Jiménez passed Torrance for most starts on the European Tour.

Torrance played in The Open Championship 28 times, with a best finish of tied 5th in 1981 at Royal St George's Golf Club in Sandwich, England.

Other tours

On his first visit on the PGA Tour of Australasia, at the time named the PGA Tour of Australia, Torrance finished second to George Serhan at the 1980 New South Wales Open in beginning of November[4] and the week after he won the Australian PGA Championship at Royal Melbourne Golf Club, beating Seve Ballesteros by two strokes. The year after, Torrance came back to Australia, capping a second-place finish in October, after losing in a playoff to Eamonn Darcy at the 1981 CBA West Lakes Classic.

On a rare visit on the U.S.-based PGA Tour, in October 1983, trying to tune up for the Ryder Cup match to be played in Florida later the same month, Torrance finished tied first after 72 holes at the 1983 Southern Open at the Green Island Country Club in Columbus, Georgia. This was the first time he ever made the cut on a PGA Tour tournament. He eventually lost in a playoff against Ronnie Black on the fourth extra hole.[5]

The year after, he was again close to victory on another continent. He lost in a playoff on the Japan Golf Tour to home player Masahiro Kuramoto at the 1984 Bridgestone Tournament at Sodegaura Country Club, Chiba, Japan. That year he also finished in second place at the Malaysian Open, tying Australia's Terry Gale for second, two behind Taiwan's Lu Chien-soon. Torrance reached another second place in Japan at the 1987 Casio World Open, losing by two strokes to American David Ishii, after leading or tying the lead after each of the first three rounds.

European Senior Tour

In 2003, upon turning 50, Torrance became eligible to play in senior tournaments, and he picked up his first win on the European Senior Tour in 2004. He finished first on the European Senior Tour's Order of Merit in 2005, 2006 and 2009, but never won a senior major. His best finish was lone 5th in the Senior Open Championship, achieved in 2009, which was the same result as his best finish in The Open and a regular major.

Torrance retired from competitive golf after playing his last event on the European Senior Tour, at the time named the Staysure Tour, in October 2017.[6]

Ryder Cup

Torrance played for Europe in the Ryder Cup eight times, from 1981 to 1995 consecutively; the Cup is contested every two years. In 1985 he sank the winning putt on the 18th green at The Belfry, England, which deprived the Americans of the trophy for the first time in 28 years. He also was a member of Cup-winning teams in 1987 (first-ever win for Europe on American soil), 1989 and 1995. In 2002, he was the non-playing captain on the European team which won the 2002 Cup at The Belfry. This made him the second European to sink the winning putt and captain a winning team at separate Ryder Cups, after Seve Ballesteros in 1987 (as a player) and 1997 (as captain). He was also named a vice-captain for the 2016 Ryder Cup at Hazeltine by captain Darren Clarke.[7]

World Cup and Alfred Dunhill Cup

Torrance represented Scotland eleven times at the World Cup and nine times at the Alfred Dunhill Cup.

Team Scotland twice finished second in the World Cup with Torrance on the two-man-team, 1984 with Gordon Brand Jnr and 1987 with Sandy Lyle. Individually, Torrance finished tied 5th at the 1978 World Cup in Hanalei, Hawaii and 3rd at the 1995 World Cup of Golf at the Mission Hills Golf Club in Shenzen, China.

He was part of the winning Scotland team, with Colin Montgomerie and Andrew Coltart, at the 1995 Dunhill Cup at the Old Course at St Andrews in Scotland. The home team beat Zimbabwe in the final 2–1, were Torrance won over Mark McNulty.[8]

Playing style

During his prime, Torrance was known for long driving and accurate short iron play, often played in a daring style.

Torrance was also an early user of the broomhandle putter. After a disappointing 1988 season on the greens, Torrance experimented with the long putter that was already being used successfully in the U.S. He debuted his version, which anchored on the chin rather than the midriff, at the 1989 Jersey Open and subsequently finished in the top five. He has used it relatively successfully ever since.

Family, honours

Torrance married English actress Suzanne Danielle in 1988. They have four children.[9][10]

Torrance's father Bob[2] also coached Sam's son Daniel who played golf to a high level, competing with Sam at the Dunhill Links Championship in the Pro Am competition, winning it once.

Torrance was awarded an MBE in 1996 for services to golf, and an OBE in the 2003 New Year Honours List, for his captaincy of Europe's Ryder Cup team.

Books, broadcasting career

Torrance is the author or co-author of several golf books; Play It Again, Sam: The Autobiography (2001), An Enduring Passion: My Ryder Cup Years (2003), Sam: The Autobiography of Sam Torrance, Golf's Ryder Cup Winning Hero (2003), With Friends Like These: A Selective History of the Ryder Cup (2006), Out of Bounds: Legendary Tales From the 19th Hole (2012).

Torrance has worked as a commentator for BBC Sport golf coverage. Along with Kelly Tilghman, he also provided commentary for Tiger Woods PGA Tour 09.

Torrance has appeared on the sport personality quiz show A Question of Sport five times since 2005.[11] In October 2006, he took over nine minutes to consider with his teammates Ally McCoist and Michael Holding the question, "Who is the only golfer from Europe or the United States to have won two majors without making a Ryder Cup appearance", eventually correctly answering John Daly.[12] On 17 March 2008, he competed with Sharron Davies and team captain Phil Tufnell in the 37th season of A Question of Sport, and made history by achieving the first-ever perfect score on the show since it started in 1970[further explanation needed].

He is a supporter of Celtic and Manchester United football clubs.

Professional wins (44)

European Tour wins (21)

No. Date Tournament Winning score Margin of
1 15 May 1976 Piccadilly Medal −15 (67-72-66-72=277) 2 strokes Australia Bob Shearer
2 12 Jun 1976 Martini International −8 (69-67-71-73=280) 2 strokes England Tommy Horton
3 16 Aug 1981 Carroll's Irish Open −12 (68-67-69-72=276) 5 strokes England Nick Faldo
4 3 Oct 1982 Benson & Hedges Spanish Open −15 (71-65-67-70=273) 8 strokes England Roger Chapman, Scotland Sandy Lyle,
Wales Ian Woosnam
5 7 Nov 1982 Portuguese Open −9 (71-67-69=207)* 4 strokes England Nick Faldo
6 3 Jul 1983 Scandinavian Enterprise Open −8 (73-69-68-70=280) 1 stroke United States Craig Stadler
7 6 Nov 1983 Portuguese Open (2) −2 (72-73-71-70=286) 3 strokes England Chris Moody
8 15 Apr 1984 Tunisian Open −6 (66-71-75-70=282) 1 stroke England Brian Waites
9 19 Aug 1984 Benson & Hedges International Open −18 (63-68-70-69=270) 1 stroke Australia Wayne Grady
10 23 Sep 1984 Sanyo Open −7 (71-69-70-71=281) Playoff Republic of Ireland Des Smyth
11 30 Jun 1985 Johnnie Walker Monte Carlo Open −12 (69-63-62-70=264) 1 stroke Japan Isao Aoki
12 3 May 1987 Lancia Italian Open −17 (64-68-71-68=271) Playoff Spain José Rivero
13 7 Oct 1990 Mercedes German Masters −16 (70-65-64-73=272) 3 strokes Germany Bernhard Langer, Wales Ian Woosnam
14 14 Apr 1991 Jersey European Airways Open −9 (68-69-69-73=279) 1 stroke England Mark Davis
15 28 Mar 1993 Kronenbourg Open −4 (69-68-73-74=284) 1 stroke Scotland Mike Miller
16 25 Apr 1993 Heineken Open −15 (71-63-67=201)* 2 strokes United States Jay Townsend
17 13 Jun 1993 Honda Open −10 (68-69-68-73=278) Playoff England Paul Broadhurst, Sweden Johan Ryström,
Wales Ian Woosnam
18 7 May 1995 Italian Open (2) −19 (69-70-63-67=269) 2 strokes Spain José Rivero
19 9 Jul 1995 Murphy's Irish Open (2) −11 (68-68-70-71=277) Playoff England Stuart Cage, England Howard Clark
20 17 Sep 1995 Collingtree British Masters −18 (67-66-68-69=270) 1 stroke New Zealand Michael Campbell
21 28 Jun 1998 Peugeot Open de France −12 (64-70-72-70=276) 2 strokes France Olivier Edmond, Italy Massimo Florioli,
Australia Mathew Goggin, Germany Bernhard Langer

*Note: Tournament shortened to 54 holes due to weather.

European Tour playoff record (4–2)

No. Year Tournament Opponent(s) Result
1 1984 Sanyo Open Republic of Ireland Des Smyth Won with par on first extra hole
2 1987 Lancia Italian Open Spain José Rivero Won with par on sixth extra hole
3 1987 London Standard Four Stars National Pro-Celebrity Zimbabwe Mark McNulty Lost to birdie on second extra hole
4 1990 NM English Open England Mark James Lost to birdie on first extra hole
5 1993 Honda Open England Paul Broadhurst, Sweden Johan Ryström,
Wales Ian Woosnam
Won with birdie on first extra hole
6 1995 Murphy's Irish Open England Stuart Cage, England Howard Clark Won with eagle on second extra hole
Cage eliminated by par on first hole

PGA Tour of Australasia wins (1)

No. Date Tournament Winning score Margin of
1 9 Nov 1980 Mayne Nickless Australian PGA Championship −6 (71-72-69-70=282) 2 strokes Spain Seve Ballesteros

PGA Tour of Australasia playoff record (0–1)

No. Year Tournament Opponent Result
1 1981 CBA West Lakes Classic Republic of Ireland Eamonn Darcy Lost to birdie on first extra hole

Challenge Tour wins (1)

No. Date Tournament Winning score Margin of
1 23 May 1993 Scottish Professional Championship −13 (68-68-66-67=269) 4 strokes Scotland Colin Montgomerie

Safari Circuit wins (1)

No. Date Tournament Winning score Margin of
1 23 Mar 1975 Zambia Open −12 (66-69-70-75=280) Playoff Scotland Brian Barnes

South American Golf Circuit wins (1)

No. Date Tournament Winning score Margin of
1 16 Dec 1979 Colombian Open −11 (67-64-70-72=273) 3 strokes United States Ray Carrasco

Other wins (8)

European Senior Tour wins (11)

No. Date Tournament Winning score Margin of
1 15 Aug 2004 Travis Perkins Senior Masters −13 (72-69-62=203) 2 strokes Japan Seiji Ebihara
2 12 Jun 2005 Irvine Whitlock Seniors Classic −11 (65-68-72=205) 4 strokes England David J. Russell
3 7 Aug 2005 De Vere PGA Seniors Championship −17 (66-70-66-69=271) 4 strokes England David J. Russell
4 25 Sep 2005 Bendinat London Seniors Masters −15 (64-67-70=201) 3 strokes England David J. Russell
5 21 May 2006 Sharp Italian Seniors Open −11 (68-70-67=205) 4 strokes Republic of Ireland Eamonn Darcy
6 4 Jun 2006 AIB Irish Seniors Open −6 (70-68-69=207) Playoff United States Jerry Bruner, Chile Guillermo Encina,
Australia Stewart Ginn
7 28 Aug 2006 PGA Seniors Championship (2) −20 (65-66-71-66=268) 3 strokes Argentina Luis Carbonetti
8 3 Sep 2006 Charles Church Scottish Seniors Open −3 (76-67-70=213) 1 stroke Scotland Bill Longmuir
9 24 Jun 2007 Bendinat London Seniors Masters (2) −10 (68-68-70=206) 1 stroke Spain José Rivero
10 9 Nov 2008 OKI Castellón Open España - Senior Tour Championship −13 (68-66-69=203) 2 strokes Chile Ángel Fernández, Japan Katsuyoshi Tomori
11 20 Mar 2009 DGM Barbados Open −14 (65-63-74=202) 4 strokes Paraguay Ángel Franco

European Senior Tour playoff record (1–1)

No. Year Tournament Opponent(s) Result
1 2005 Bovis Lend Lease European Senior Masters England Mark James Lost to birdie on first extra hole
2 2006 AIB Irish Seniors Open United States Jerry Bruner, Chile Guillermo Encina,
Australia Stewart Ginn
Won with eagle on second extra hole
Encina and Ginn eliminated by birdie on first hole

Playoff record

PGA Tour playoff record (0–1)

No. Year Tournament Opponent Result
1 1983 Southern Open United States Ronnie Black Lost to birdie on fourth extra hole

Japan Golf Tour playoff record (0–1)

No. Year Tournament Opponents Result
1 1984 Bridgestone Tournament Taiwan Chen Tze-chung, Japan Yoshihisa Iwashita,
Japan Masahiro Kuramoto
Kuramoto won with eagle on first extra hole

Results in major championships

Tournament 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979
Masters Tournament
U.S. Open
The Open Championship T46 CUT CUT T19 CUT CUT CUT CUT
PGA Championship
Tournament 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989
Masters Tournament T31
U.S. Open
The Open Championship T38 5 12 T53 T9 T16 T21 T50 T47 CUT
PGA Championship
Tournament 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000
Masters Tournament T33 CUT T39
U.S. Open T21 T16 CUT
The Open Championship T39 T44 CUT T51 CUT T11 CUT CUT T24 CUT
PGA Championship CUT T30 T23 CUT T45 CUT
  Top 10
  Did not play

CUT = missed the half-way cut (3rd round cut in 1973, 1977 and 1978 Open Championships)
"T" indicates a tie for a place


Tournament Wins 2nd 3rd Top-5 Top-10 Top-25 Events Cuts made
Masters Tournament 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 3
U.S. Open 0 0 0 0 0 2 3 2
The Open Championship 0 0 0 1 2 8 28 16
PGA Championship 0 0 0 0 0 1 6 3
Totals 0 0 0 1 2 11 41 24
  • Most consecutive cuts made – 10 (1980 Open Championship – 1988 Open Championship)
  • Longest streak of top-10s – 1 (twice)

Results in senior major championships

Results are not in chronological order before 2016.

Tournament 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016
The Tradition T21
Senior PGA Championship T38 T19 CUT T34 T53 T56 CUT
The Senior Open Championship T9 T29 CUT T10 CUT 5 T63 CUT CUT CUT T75 CUT
U.S. Senior Open T5 CUT
  Top 10
  Did not play

CUT = missed the halfway cut
"T" indicates a tie for a place.
Note: Torrance never played in the Senior Players Championship.

Team appearances

See also


  1. ^ "Week 48 1995 Ending 3 Dec 1995" (pdf). OWGR. Retrieved 3 October 2019.
  2. ^ a b "Bob Torrance, father of golf star Sam, passes away aged 82". BBC Sport. 18 July 2014. Retrieved 18 July 2014.
  3. ^ Torrance, Sam; Baldwin, Mark (2010). An Enduring Passion: My Ryder Cup Years. Edingburgh: Mainstream Publishing Company. ISBN 9781845966294.
  4. ^ "Golf: Smiling Serhan walks off with $13,000 NSW prize". The Canberra Times. 3 November 1980. p. 18. Retrieved 21 June 2020.
  5. ^ Saladino, Tom (10 October 1983). "Torrance Falters; Black Captures Southern Open". The Lewiston Daily Sun. Maine. Associated Press. p. 17 – via Google News Archive.
  6. ^ Heath, Elliott (28 August 2019). "Sam Torrance Reveals He Has Given Up Golf". Golf Monthly.
  7. ^ Inglis, Martin (27 July 2016). "Sam Torrance named Ryder Cup vice-captain". bunkered.
  8. ^ "Scotland aces the field to win Dunhill Cup; Dunhill Cup". The Daytona Beach News-Journal. Florida. Associated Press. 23 October 1995. pp. 2D, 5D. Retrieved 22 June 2020.
  9. ^ "Sam Torrance". OnlyGolfNews. 1 June 2017.
  10. ^ "The Saturday profile – Suzanne Danielle". The Scotsman. 28 September 2002.
  11. ^ "Sam Torrance".
  12. ^ Video on YouTube

External links

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