Tiger's influence at Ryder Cup
Europe's vice-captain Torrance says Love's deputy Woods will have big influence on US
People have seen what Tiger Woods the golfer can do on the course, but no one has seen what the American can do as a tactician.
As one of United States captain Davis Love III's four deputies at the Ryder Cup battle at the Hazeltine National Golf Club in Minnesota next month, Woods, 40, will no doubt have a big influence on the team, said Sam Torrance.
But the 2002 Ryder Cup-winning Europe captain is unsure what the former world No. 1, who is unfit to play, will bring to the team strategically.
"It would be interesting to see what Tiger thinks, because we've never heard what he thinks before," said the 63-year-old Scot at the Capella Singapore last night.
Torrance is in town to grace the Julius Baer Golf Classic today at the Sentosa Golf Club's Serapong Course.
"He has been their main man and he is not going to give his secrets away. We are not going to hear what influence he has on the team, but I am sure it would be big - he is a huge figure. But he's not playing," Torrance, added with a roguish smile.
It was only natural that Torrance, who played in eight Ryder Cups and won four times as a player, would be confident that Europe will once again retain their title this year and extend their winning streak to four campaigns.
Europe have already confirmed the nine qualifiers - Rory McIlroy, Henrik Stenson, Justin Rose, Sergio Garcia, Andy Sullivan, Chris Wood, Danny Willett, Rafa Cabrera-Bello and Matthew Fitzpatrick.
Captain Darren Clarke will make three picks on Tuesday to complete the team. Torrance is one of Clarke's four vice-captains this year, joining Thomas Bjorn, Padraig Harrington, Paul Lawrie and Ian Poulter, and he refused to give anything away on Clarke's three captain's picks.
Torrance said: "You have to look at the nine qualifiers you have and fit the best three players for that nine players. We'd need some experience, so some experienced players will be picked."
While attention will be on big names such as McIlroy, Rose, Stenson and Garcia to perform for Europe, Torrance said anyone can be decisive for Europe in the upcoming contest of the continents.
"There were many magnificent moments in the last campaign," said Torrance, who was also the vice-captain in 2014.
"Graeme McDowell, coming back to beat Jordan Spieth in the first singles match on Sunday. It was a huge, huge start in the singles; if he had lost, it would have been a downer for the team."
Having been in numerous Ryder Cup campaigns both as a player and as a backroom staff, Torrance counts Europe's 2002 victory, where he was captain, as his most memorable.
"It was the best week of my life in golf, by a million miles. I didn't have to play and that was a big reason," he recounted, laughing.
"It is very difficult to be in the Ryder Cup and be completely yourself and relaxed. But, as the captain, I was never more relaxed in a golf tournament."
He explained that he had done all the work to be done before the tournament, but the only thing that worried him was the speeches he had to give, both at the opening and closing ceremonies.
"You'd want to look at your captain (giving the speech) and feel pride, he'd have to be perfect."
Thus, Torrance had the actual rostrum that was to be used at The Belfry delivered to his garage and, for three to four hours the entire week before the tournament, he would practise and record his speeches until he could recite them backwards.
"That was the hardest I've had to work for anything. Golf is easy," he said, laughing.
It would be interesting to see what Tiger thinks, because we’ve never heard what he thinks before.
— Sam Torrance on what Tiger Woods can offer strategically