Last Updated: 14 June 2023, Author: AceOdds.com
Delve into the heart of golf with our exclusive interview featuring legendary golfer Sam Torrance. We cover an array of topics, from the intricacies of the Ryder Cup to the performance potential of Rory McIlroy and Scotty Scheffler at the upcoming Masters. Torrance offers his experienced perspective on controversial issues like LIV player eligibility and the prospective rolling back of the golf ball. Whether you're a golfing aficionado or a betting enthusiast, this piece is packed with insightful perspectives and expert predictions that can guide your betting choices on AceOdds.com. Don't miss this golden opportunity to hear from a legend of the fairway.
He just keep playing the way he's playing, to be honest. His golf last week and the match play was sublime.
He's won a lot of events, a lot of runner-ups, a lot of thirds in the last year. No majors, I think it's his 9th year now without a major.
I think he's strong enough not to let that bother him. I mean, how he didn't win at Saint Andrew's last year is beyond belief the way he played.
I think he had 36 spots in the last round. Memories of Augusta, maybe, the one where it just all went wrong. I don't think it'll still be in there but it might be just a little bit.
But the way he's playing, I see Augusta suiting him down to the ground. He's always been one of my favourite players.
Good memories are always good. But practise rounds... I don't think they mean nearly as much as when the crowds and the excitement are there and you've actually got a pencil in your hand where actually counts.
But it's just nice to have. He'll have played the new 13th, the new inland that's been changed. A couple of extra practice rounds will obviously help.
I don't think it'll change his mental thinking about winning the Masters, but it's nice to have more knowledge.
Absolutely. He's a hell of a player. He's like Fred Astaire with the feet work, but he makes it work.
He's got a beautiful great turn. Big high hands at the top. Very powerful. Hits it a long way. Great short game. He putts beautifully. Iron play is very solid.
He's won six times in the last year. Absolutely he can win it again. Probably why he's joint-favourite with McIlroy.
I was watching Full Swing on Netflix, it's actually quite a good series. You get a great insight into the people and he seems like a lovely man. Great family life and very happy in what he's doing.
Tricky one. I mean, you got some great players in there. Two or three anyway, maybe four.
But I think that before the first one this year they hadn't played for three months. That can't be good, not having competitive golf.
It's going to be difficult for them, especially now, back with all their old mates playing in huge crowds, which I don't think they've been having at LIV golf.
It's one we'll just have to let unfold and see what happens. I don't fancy their chances, to be honest.
Yeah, I don't know how that happened, but I suppose 10%... if the other 10% went to Italians, that's quite a lot. That's a lot of tickets. But that's political so I have no idea how that happened.
Well, they'll certainly be eating very well and drinking very well. The nature of the Italians. Yeah, of course.
France was magnificent, the cultures are there. But in the end, it'll just be these twelve guys against the other twelve on a golf course and let the best team win and it will be fantastic.
Well, they knew what was happening when they signed up.
I think it was perfectly illustrated with the captain or the ex-captain [Henrik] Stenson, I believe they were told "if you sign for LIV, you will not be involved in the Ryder Cup". And he went ahead and saw that and then signed for them. So he lost his captaincy. So if they're taking the captain out, I can't see any other LIV players getting in.
But we've lost three, I think, incredible captains in [Lee] Westwood, [Sergio] García and [Ian] Poulter. I think they would've been unbelievable captains in the years to come. Whether they would have made the team this year is slightly debatable.
I don't know how the captain's thinking about who he's going to pick or whatever, but I'm sure that the LIV players are not going to get picked. Not certain. I don't know. I'm not involved in any way, shape or form, so I don't really know what's going to happen there. But it doesn't look good for them, to be honest.
I saw that [Rory] McIlroy agrees with it. Obviously, [Jon] Rahm doesn't. And what Rahm said was that it'll just give more advantage to the longer hitters, which I agree with.
I think the rolling back of the ball might save some great golf courses that have been outgrown really with the distance they hit it now.
The set-up of the course, I think, is huge in solving the problem. I mean, the way they set up, the course for the Ryder Cup in France was extraordinary. When you missed the fairway, you were just trying to get it back on the fairway. There was no driving up 80 yards shortly and knocking on the green just wasn't possible because of the severity of the rocks.
I think a lot of that should happen, but if you think of the great manufacturers like Callaway, tailor-made, the amount of development they've put into the ball, it would be extraordinary if they had to take it back and then everyone would have the same ball, basically. Not sure that's right.
Different balls suit different players. But I'm not in agreement with it, to be honest. My father taught me when I was a kid, "hit it as far as you can and we'll straighten it up later". Unfortunately, he's now passed and we never straightened up enough.
But it was always part of the game. If you hit it further than anybody else, the golf course was just begging to get beat. I thought it was a huge part of the game.
I would have to go the top three, McIlroy, [Scottie] Scheffler and [Jon] Rahm. I know I'm sitting on the fence, but it's not really sitting on the fence. I think one of those three is going to win it.
I mean, you've got [Sam] Burns, who's just won the match player. He's a great player. There's plenty of them. [Xander] Schauffele is a great player. There are plenty of great players who can win it.
But my personal picks would be the first two, I think Scheffler and McIlroy. Rahm wasn't so great the match he played didn't play that well. He had to pull out in TPC because of a stomach bug. So let's hope that's not going to be ailing him, but it's next week. It's not that far away.
You can never rule out Tiger.
Was it two, three years ago he won it? I know he's had a huge accident since, but the way he played when he did play, and I can't remember the name of the tournament, he was running it I think, but his golf was magnificent.
He's Tiger Woods. No one's ever come close to his record. If you put it all into one big basket, what he's achieved... yes, he hasn't won as many majors as Jack [Nicklaus]. But his victories, the size of his victories, are extraordinary.
I would never rule him out. If he's playing, he thinks he can win.
I haven't really watched it. I think I maybe watched 20 minutes of it. It's not for me. It just doesn't rub well with me.
The PGA tour is magnificent. The European tour (now the DP World tour), when you got the Asian tour, the South African tour, the Australian tour. I mean, there was plenty of tours.
I guess they were just trying to do something totally different. You've got the 16th at Arizona at par three. That's extraordinary what goes on there, but that's one hole in the whole year to think about.
I'm not saying they're doing the same as that at LIV, but they're trying to do different things, music playing, and all this stuff going on, shotgun starts, I don't know. I don't know if it'll last or not.
The Saudis, they're not stupid people. They're not doing it for fun. I mean, they're doing it to make money in the long run by selling their teams. I don't know how they want to do, but I believe that's one of the ways. I think it's just best to let it unfold and see what happens.
I don't think they knew Tiger. I don't think he would ever sign for something like that.
Yes, it's certainly a huge bump in their plans. I mean, to get Dustin Johnson was extraordinary, to be honest. To get Cam Smith was extraordinary.
Each to his own, they decided that's what they wanted to do, but I'm sure [Tiger] Woods was a huge disappointment.
For players that are dwindling in years and you're offered that vast amount of money to go and see out your career on the LIV Tour? I probably would have jumped at it myself.
But for these young superstars, Justin Thomas, [Collin] Morikawa, there's so many of them that have said no, because the tour is a tour. The US Tour has been the king since the day I've started playing golf. It was where you all wanted to get to and play.
You've never heard of a player leaving American Tour until this started and it's maybe been done the wrong way, I don't know.
Well, Matt Wallace winning last week was a huge one for Matt. He's a very strong player, he's got big bollocks. When he gets in with a chance to win, he can do it.
[Xander] Schauffele too, I mentioned him. He's not coming out of the blue, he's been up there a while.
But Matt Wallace would be one from the outskirts, if you want to put it that way.
Confidence is a great thing and winning. Confidence breeds confidence and he's a very confident man, Matt. And winning in America, I think, is a huge turn for him. We'll just see how it develops.
I'll never run anything past the Open. I think it's just being a Scotsman and wanting to win it my whole life.
But one of my favourites to watch is the Masters. I think what's key is it's the same course every year, so you know every nook and cranny, every inch of it just by watching it. And it's a fabulous place to go to and play.
I love to watch the Masters and the timing is always great too. The time change, it comes on just at the right time and it's perfect.
But the Open would be my favourite.
Being captain, by a million miles. That was extremely special. Playing in it is obviously very meaningful and exciting and rewarding.
But to be the captain, win or lose, was beyond belief, to be honest.
There was nothing that bothered me, every other aspect of it, picking the clothing, putting the teams out was great. Being friends with them, talking to them. Every aspect of the Ryder Cup I looked forward to. But the opening and closing ceremonies terrified me.
I got some great help from a guy called David Birdie, who I heard speaking at the Sunningdale centenary dinner. And he was magnificent, a Scotsman.
As soon as he finished, I went up and introduced myself and he says "yes Sam, I know who you are." I said, "Well, I want you to help me with the Ryder Cup" and he looked at me and said, "But Sam, I'm an amateur." I didn't want him to play!
But he was magnificent in helping me. Just little things. I spent a lot of time with him in the years building up, but that was a huge help.
Well, my dad, really.
When we were five, we moved to Manchester. He was the pro and greenkeeper at a place called Rossendale, just a nine-hole course, and that's where I started my golf.
I think when I was between 8 or 9. I shot 39 on the nine-hole course and I come in and I told him. I thought he was going to knock my head off. He says, "I told you never to bloody lie to me." I said, "Dad, I did! Honestly, I did!"
He says "Right" and he dragged me to the first tee, and said "let's go". And I did it again and I guess that's when I found my teacher for the next 50 years.
That's what inspired me and the love of the game.
I was very young in '69, when [Jack] Nicklaus conceded the part to Tony Jacklin in the Ryder Cup. It was huge, what it meant to them.
And just watching Nicklaus and [Arnold] Palme. Watching Shell's Wonderful World of Golf. Watching that and watching the Masters, the British Open, just loved it. I was hooked from a very early age.
Well, my dad would be definitely my biggest influence.
I played Seve [Ballesteros] in the Hennessy Cognac Cup, which became the Seve Trophy, in the years after we played it. It was actually at the Belfry.
And so we were one down with two to play. On 17 he's just short of the green. I'm just right at the green, par five. He chips up stone dead. And I duck my chip right in front of me and then I chipped it in for the half. So I was one down, one to play.
We're all over, marching over to the 18th, tees up a ball. I've had a wee few swiggles at the ball and I'm noticing around me, there's no feet there. So I think "What the hell is going on?" And I look up and there's not a soul there. I'd gone to the 9th tee and Seve and all them were all on the 18th.I managed to win the last hole off them and finish all square.
And then in 1980, I played the Australian PGA and I think I played with [Greg] Norman in the third round and Seve in the last round. Cut a long story short, I won it.
When I come off the last green, Seve put his arm around me. He looked me in the eyes and said "hey, San" - he always call me San - he says, "you're very tough to beat, eh?". And for a legend like that, to say that to me meant a huge amount.
I'd won twice in '76 on tour. I played in the Ryder Cup and I went on to play and win a few more tournaments. And a lot of that was down to Seve, he was a huge influence.
No, it was never in my school either. But I think it's changed enormously.
Stevie Gallacher and Paul Lawrie have both got great academies for kids. You can't do enough because they are the future. So, yes, there can be more done, but I really think it's in good hands. Golf is in great hands at the moment.
To work hard, obviously, but to enjoy it. You're in for a wonderful life. If you can make the grade to travel the world, play golf and get paid for it, it's extraordinary.
Try and get one coach and stick to that. Those are the criteria. Work hard and enjoy would be the two bits of advice I give to them.
Well, captain of the Ryder Cup, but as a player, winning the aforementioned Australian PGA on Royal Melbourne, which is an incredible golf course. I've been very lucky.
I won in Royal Melbourne and in the Irish Open. And won twice at St. Andrews. And one with my son was very special.
I think the 1998 French Open at the national, where the Ryder Cup's played on the 17th. I think I was tied for the lead with two holes to go, and 18 is a par five, and 17 was kind of the toughest on the course.
And I had seven woods to foot to make birdie. I needed just a five at the last to win it, and that was probably the most memorable one.
And it was actually my last win on the European Tour, so I wasn't a spring chicken.
St. Andrews. I love the open at St. Andrews. I love the Dunhill Cup. The Dunhill Links. I loved everything about St Andrews.
I actually built a golf course there and spent three months living in the town. It's such a fabulous place. You actually see it then when you're playing in the Open or the Dunhill.
It's so busy, restaurants are full, and you have the freedom of just wandering about this wonderful little city with this golf course that virtually comes up the high street is quite amazing.
Well, I would always have a practice round, obviously. But sometimes the less you know about a course, it's easier to play it because you don't know where the trouble is.
The problem going back to the same course year after year, as you know, all the holes where you hit it in the crap or lost the ball or something, you know where all the trouble is. So to play a fresh course is quite nice.
I think Seve [Ballesteros]. Seve was extraordinary, he had such an aura about him. He was the king. I can tell you a funny story about him…
As I said, I played in eight Ryder Cups and I think seven of them, the big five were in the team. [Bernhard] Langerand, [Sandy] Lyle, [Nick] Faldo and [Ian] Woosnam and the King: Seve.
And the big bonus of that was in the team room, you could ask them anything about golf, anything.
Anything about your swing, their swing, how to place certain shots. They would help you because they would do anything to win the Ryder Cup.
And the story I'm going to tell you about is my second Ryder Cup in '83 at West Palm beach…
They have this thick rough round the greens which we didn't really have in Europe. I didn't play a lot in America, so I was not that great out of it.
So I asked Seve, please can you help me with this rough round of greens? He says "Si, no problem. Come on." So it takes me down the range and he was there with me for at least an hour with me and he was magnificent. Couldn't have been more helpful.
And of course, the Ryder Cup finishes, we ended up losing by a point. We all promised each other we'd come back in '85 and win it, which fortunately we did.
But when we come back, I think the second tour we played was - might have been Spain, not sure where it was - but I was down on the range. The chipping green beside the range in this thick rough, still trying to get this chipping right, and who walks past but the King: Seve.
I said to him "Please Seve, por favor, just 1 minute, come and have a look at it."
And he looked down at me with this beautiful big smile on his face. He said, "Hey, San, fuck off. I'll see you in two years!" [Laughs] Which was brilliant.
Well, my most embarrassing moment... the Lancome event, mid 80's.
I travelled with David Feherty for about ten years, and this was during my time of travelling with him. And when you're travelling with someone, you become very close.
And whoever finishes the round first will wait till the other one finishes, then go back to the hotel or the airport if it's Sunday night or whatever. So we've arrived at Lancome. It was one of our favourite events, just a magnificent course in Saint-Nom-la-Bretèche.
And every year they give a Rolex watch for the low round of the week. But we find out when we get there that this year it was going to be given to us by Isabella Rossellini, daughter of Ingrid Bergman, voted the most beautiful woman in the world, possibly that year. So we were all pretty excited about that.
And of course, round two, yours truly, I shot 63. By Sunday night, it was the low round of the week.
I didn't play very well in the other three rounds. I finished 35th, but the only stipulation was that you would attend the prize giving, so not a problem.
So I'm there, I've had a couple of glasses of wine, I'm absolutely fine, I'm still in my golf gear, light grey trousers and navy blue shirt, as is my want for a bit of Scottish luck with a blue shirt.
So it's now 6:30pm and the prize giving is about to start. So I head out and up to round the putting green, they've got a beautiful big lawn up there, and this is where the prize giving was.
And all the press were there, the dignitaries, the sponsors, cameras everywhere, and of course, the beautiful Isabella Rossellini.
So I'm sitting down there, happy as Larry. The sun's beautiful, it's perfect conditions. I'm just looking about, and I look down to the right, and I see him: Feherty. I think "what the hell's he doing here. He shouldn't be here."
And he's got this dirty, big, shit-eating grin on his face. He's about 40 yards from me, and he's getting closer. So I look away and I look back and now he's ten yards away.
I look up at him and he's just got this huge grin on his face and he brings from behind his back a pint of water and he throws it all over my crotch and I've gone, "what the fuck?"
And I've looked up and he's gone. Like a rat in a sinking ship running away, laughing like a bloody hyena.
And I'm looking down at my trousers, and it's ridiculous. My whole crotch is just saturated.
And within 30 seconds, the announcement: "and the low round of the week, Sam Torrance. Sam, please come up and collect your award from the beautiful Isabella Rossellini."
So I had to get out and walk 40 yards across these beautiful lawns towards the most beautiful woman in the world with a sodden crotch.
I got there and I told the beautiful lady immediately what my best friend had just done to me, and she had a wee giggle. So I kind of got away with it with her, but he didn't get away with it with me.
I still haven't had revenge yet, but I will come up with something before we pass.
Distance, probably. These guys are hitting the seven iron now, 195.
When we played a par 4 of 420/430 yards, it was virtually two woods.
Now they're driving at 350 yards and wedges 100/130/140 maybe. So a huge difference there.
But it's down to fitness, it's down to a lot of things. It's certainly down to the golf club, the ball. Everything put together has just improved greatly.
Well, it's the DP World tour now! It's not a European tour anymore. It's gone, unfortunately. It's now the DP World tour.
I think they've signed up with America. It's a changing world. I think the top ten in Europe now get a card in America, which is huge incentive.
But the European tour, or DP World tour, is fantastic. It's still a great breeding ground. Even as far back as '72 when it started. I was there. We all wanted to get to America, where the big money was and the perfect conditions every week.
And the European Tour were great with that, they would let you. As long as you come back and played some events in Europe and kept them going.
I never made it to America. To go from a card at the school would have taken three/four weeks, and I just never got around to it.
But the European Tour is fabulous, I think.
Between the ears. No question.
I was fortunate enough to play with Tom Watson a number of times. Great man.
And I think it was Birkdale we were playing and I asked him "You've won everything in golf, what motivates you?" And he says "at a young age I learned how to win."
I didn't really understand it at the time, but I now know exactly what he meant. And winning is what it's all about.
These guys have won 80 tournaments. Seve, Sam Sneed, [Jack] Nicklaus, [Tiger] Woods. It's just something that they love doing, and that's what it's all about, really.
And that comes from good thinking. From not doing the wrong thing at the right time or doing the right thing when things are in a bad position or whatever. Just don't do the stupid thing, do the right thing.
And they seem to be able to do that time after time, the greats.
Well, that's what you dream for. That's what you dream for and that's what you work for. Everyone will have an idol. Jack Nicklaus was mine.
I once said to him, "Jack, do you mind if I give you a compliment?" And he knew that I was a wee bit of a reprobate "And he says, yeah, go on..."
And says, "in the 400 majors that I won in my dreams, you were the runner-up every time!"
Driver. I was very good driver of the ball. And when you hit a good drive, you're just setting yourself up.
You're in the mayor's office in your second shot and maybe eight times out of ten. They always used to say "you drive for show and you putt for dough."
I think it may have changed now. I think that the driver in your hand, especially the distance they hit it now. It's a huge weapon, and I enjoyed the driver.