Torrance delighted to be back

Sam Torrance could not hide his delight at renewing his involvement with the Ryder Cup after being named a vice-captain for this year's contest.

European captain Paul McGinley unveiled Torrance and Des Smyth as his first two assistant captains for the September showdown at Gleneagles.

Torrance featured in eight Ryder Cup teams as a player and then skipper Europe to a memorable victory at the Belfry in 2002, when it was McGinley that holed the winning putt.

The Scot has been close friends with McGinley for a number of years, and he is looking forward to playing a vital role for the team over the coming months.

Torrance said: "Everyone knows how much The Ryder Cup has meant to me over my career so I am absolutely delighted to be involved once again.

"Paul was a special part of my team at The Belfry in 2002 and he knows I will do everything possible to help him and the team at Gleneagles in September.

"I was never prouder in my career than when I put on the Ryder Cup sweater and it's no different this time. If I can do a 10th on Paul's team of what he did for my team I'll be a very happy man.


"We would do anything for the Ryder Cup. Paul is a great man and I'm looking forward to working with him.

"I feel I bring experience to the team. Our role as vice-captains, we're the buffer between the players and the captain. A player can come to us with a problem, and we can sort that problem 99.9% of the time.

"If we can't, then we'll take it to Paul. But he'll have enough on his mind that week. I'm a good people person, I get on well in the team room, and I'll stay up as late as anybody wants to listen to their problems. "

Smyth played in two contests in 1979 and 1981 and also served as vice-captain to Ian Woosnam in the huge victory over the Americans at the K Club in 2006.

The 61-year-old was an influential figure to McGinley during the early stages of his European Tour career, and he has vowed to offer his fellow Irishman all the support he needs at Gleneagles.

Smyth said: "I was thrilled when Paul contacted me and asked me to be one of his vice-captains at Gleneagles, and there was no hesitation for me in saying 'yes'.

"I relished the opportunity to be a vice-captain at The K Club in 2006 and I look forward to playing a positive role once again in supporting Paul and the team.

Absolute thrill

"The Ryder Cup has meant an awful lot to my own career, it was an absolute thrill to play in 1979 and 1981 because it's the pinnacle of team golf. If you want to be rated among your peers, you've got to get that badge of being a Ryder Cup player.

"Then in 2006, I was invited to be one of Ian Woosnam's vice-captains and that was a wonderful experience.

"So to be back in the fold again is absolutely fantastic and I'm looking forward to the challenge. I hope I can support Paul and I'm sure I will. He's a busy man and it's a big job, so he needs support."

Smyth believes he can prove a valuable mentor to the European players in the same way as he took McGinley under his wing during his rookie years.

"You're with the players during practice, you want to make sure they're happy and in good form," he added. "The captain can't be there all of the time, so we'll feed him the information he needs.

"Players can feel uncomfortable, but they might not want to speak to the captain about it. So that's our role, we take on whatever issues the players want to deal with.

"But it's an exciting time, and the players are fantastic. What struck me about my time in 2006 was just how professional they all are. There's no bluffing and you can't run and hide if your game isn't quite right."