Sport Golf

Saturday 7 December 2019

Harrington leads tributes to swing guru Bob Torrance

Bob Torrance with Padraig Harrington
Bob Torrance with Padraig Harrington

Bob Torrance, the legendary Scottish coach who Padraig Harrington credits with moulding him into a Major champion, died at home in Largs yesterday, succumbing to cancer at age 82.

Over more than six decades, Torrance built a reputation as the most authoritative and gifted student of the swing in world golf, even winning as a young man the respect, friendship and confidence of his all-time hero, the legendary Ben Hogan

Many great Irish golfers have worked with the Scot, including Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley and Darren Clarke, but it was his 12-year relationship with Harrington, from their first meeting in 1998 to their parting at the 2010 Irish Open at Killarney, which best defined Torrance's genius.

In Harrington, he found a kindred spirit, a man prepared to spend every hour of daylight working on the range ... and then come back for more under the dim arc lamps after dinner.

Informed of his teacher's passing minutes after missing the 36-hole cut at The Open yesterday, Harrington said: "This news does put things in perspective. I was up there a couple of weeks ago and I've been getting a lot of reports.

"He is one man whose life can be celebrated that's for sure. He made a big difference to a lot of people in a great way," added the Dubliner. "Everyone just loved him. He loved golf, he loved coaching. I think he's left a lot in golf. That's his legacy.

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"He's left a lot in me but also in other players. I am sure Sam (his son) and June (his wife) will dearly miss him but I don't think anyone can have any regrets. Bob Torrance led a full life that's for sure and we all have the stories to back that up.

"Bob was a critical part of me winning my Major tournaments, it would never have happened without him," he added. "As sad as Bob's passing is, I can't help but smile at some of the stories we all have about him It'll be the best wake of all time.

"He touched everybody who came across him, with his love of golf and his humour. Many would be happy to live our life the way he did. He definitely lived it to the fullest. For myself, going to see him a few weeks ago was the hardest part, the saddest part. After seeing him, I knew this was coming," Harrington concluded.

Clarke said: "When I played in my first Irish Open as an amateur in 1990, it was with Sam Torrance and DJ Russell and Sam told me I'd got to start working with his dad and I did.

"I spent so many much time in Largs with him and June," added the Ulsterman.

"Bob was a free spirit. He enjoyed himself. He was a wonderfully knowledgeable coach and he was a really good man. I really loved Bob. I feel for June, they were inseparable, and, of course, for Sam."

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