Monday 5 December 2016

Darren Clarke names Sam Torrance as his fifth Ryder Cup vice-captain

Published 27/07/2016 | 18:16

European skipper Darren Clarke, pictured left, has made Sam Torrance his fifth vice-captain
European skipper Darren Clarke, pictured left, has made Sam Torrance his fifth vice-captain

European Ryder Cup captain Darren Clarke has named Sam Torrance as his fifth vice-captain for September's contest at Hazeltine.

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Clarke made the announcement during a press conference ahead of this week's US PGA Championship and said he was "delighted" that 2002 skipper Torrance had agreed to join Ian Poulter, Paul Lawrie, Thomas Bjorn and Padraig Harrington on his backroom staff.

"Sam's been a very good friend of mine for a long time," former Open champion Clarke said. "He was a wonderful captain to play under at The Belfry.

"He was very thorough and everybody that played under him enjoyed the week because it can been difficult at times, but Sam put everybody at ease and made everyone comfortable."

Clarke is also understood to have considered 2012 captain Jose Maria Olazabal, who has been unable to play competitive golf since the Masters in 2015 due to pain in his joints caused by rheumatoid arthritis.

"I always wanted someone there who has been a captain before," the 47-year-old added. "I think with Sam's knowledge, something may come up during the week at Hazeltine that I may not be expecting.

"I think to have somebody of Sam's experience in the backroom who has been through everything himself can only benefit me. I don't expect anything to come up, but if something does and I need his wisdom and guidance, I can't think of a better man to have there.

"I played with him in my first professional tournament, while I was an amateur, a long, long time ago. He's a very experienced Ryder Cup player, successful Ryder Cup player, and indeed, very successful Ryder Cup captain.

"He's got a big heart for the Ryder Cup and I'm sure that will show through during the week."

Torrance, 62, said in a statement: "It goes without saying that I am very proud to be part of the backroom team for the 2016 Ryder Cup. 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."

Clarke reiterated that he will look to add experience to a team which currently features five rookies when he names his three wild cards on August 30.

And he has advised the man in the last automatic qualifying place, 21-year-old Englishman Matt Fitzpatrick, to try to relax after four missed cuts in succession.

"He is actually trying too hard," Clarke added. "It's a big deal for somebody as young as Matt to be right on the cusp of making his first Ryder Cup, to try and cement that place. He's pushing himself too hard. I've suggested to him to relax a little bit and enjoy it.

"I f his stats weren't as good as they were I would be somewhat concerned, but I'm not. He's a quality player. He won not so long ago (the Nordea Masters on June 5). He's desperate to make the team and I'm sure with the way that he is playing he's going to have another good week coming up very, very soon again."

Press Association

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