sport

Torrance backs Ryder Cup duo

Sam Torrance is confident that Ryder Cup stalwarts Lee Westwood and Graeme McDowell will be in the European team at Gleneagles in September.

Westwood has slipped to 32nd in the world rankings after a disappointing first half of the year, while McDowell is also struggling to earn an automatic place in Paul McGinley's side.

Former world No 1 Westwood has played in every Ryder Cup since his debut in 1997, and McDowell has featured in the last three contests.

The Northern Irishman held his nerve under immense pressure to clinch the winning point in the 2010 edition at Celtic Manor, but he - like Westwood - might have to rely on being one of McGinley's three captain's picks this year.

But Torrance, who was named as assistant captain along with Des Smyth, has dismissed concerns over the form of Westwood and McDowell and believes both will be an asset for Europe.

"Obviously we want Lee in the team," said Torrance. "He is a fantastic player and we'd love him in there. I don't think his form over the last few months is of any concern to Paul.

"I think he should put him in the team straight away, he's a man for the big occasion. The same applies to G-Mac, I'm sure he'll be in the team."

Ian Poulter, the main inspiration behind the "Miracle at Medinah" two years ago, is also outside the top nine automatic qualifying positions in the Ryder Cup standings along with 2012 team-mates Francesco Molinari, Nicolas Colsaerts, Paul Lawrie and Peter Hanson.

But Torrance added: "Our team is looking very strong at the moment. There are a couple of names not in it while Luke Donald is right on the borderline and my fellow Scot Stephen Gallacher is another I would like to see in the team.

"But it's impossible to say what the final team is going to be at this stage. There are still two months to go and lots of big events to play so there could be huge changes yet."

Torrance feels one of those huge changes could happen in the Open Championship at Hoylake, where he has backed McDowell to win his second major.

"I've got a strong feeling he's going to win the Open this year," said the winning 2002 Ryder Cup captain. "Hoylake is just idyllic for his type of game.

"It's a very demanding course but it's very much about hitting fairways and greens. When Tiger Woods won there in 2006 he was sometimes hitting five and six-irons off the tee.

"G-Mac will be a bit like that and with his low ball flight I think he's perfect for seaside golf.

"It's like a chess match going round Hoylake. It's a wonderful test of golf but you've got to be very tentative and careful."