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Sam Torrance called into World Match Play

THE 2001 Cisco World Match Play championship at Wentworth is beginning to look more and more like an old boys club event. Sam Torrance, European captain for the ill-fated 2001 Ryder Cup, is the latest 'old boy' to join the fray.

The 48-year-old Scottish veteran was called in by the organizers today as a replacement for Canadian Mike Weir who decided at the last minute that discretion was the better part of valour in the wake of the allied invasion of Afghanistan and did what all the other North Americans had done. He withdrew.

Torrance will play Seve Ballesteros, himself a late inclusion, in his case for American John Daly who also got cold feet and withdrew after the field had been finalized.

The Scot, who made the last of his three appearances in the event in 1995 and the Spaniard, a multi-majors winner and highly successful Ryder Cup captain of bygone years, are to face up avgainst each other in Thursday's opening round with the winner going on to play second seed Vijay Singh in the quarter-finals on Friday.

The 44-year-old Spaniard, who won this event in 1981, 1982, 1984, 1985 and 1991, is one six winners playing, the others being Ian Woosnam (1987 and 1990), Nick Faldo (1989 and 1992), Colin Montgomerie (1999), Vijay Singh (1997) and Lee Westwood the defending champion.

It is the first time in the 38-year history of the tournament that no American has taken part and the 12-strong field will be severely weakened by the absence of stars like Tiger woods, David Duval, Phil Mickelson and David Toms who all declined invitations in the wake of the 11 September terrorist attacks.

Of the other famous old stagers brought in to boost public interest in the field, Faldo meets Ireland's Padraig Harrington and Woosnam takes on US Open champion Retief Goosen in round one while Denmark's Thomas Bjorn and Australian prospect Adam Scott complete the draw.

The various winners from this group will then play the top four seeds, Lee Westwood, Vijay Singh, Colin Montgomerie and Darren Clarke, who have all been given byes through to the second round on Friday.

Ballesteros will equal Gary Player's record of 20 appearances - his five wins also shares a record with the South African - and better still, he'll earn £50,000 just for turning up.

That's seven times as much as he has won in the past year on the European Tour so he is certainly one man who won't regret the absence of the Americans.

World Match Play Championship draw for Thursday:
Thomas Bjorn (Den, 8th seed) v Adam Scott (Aus)
Winner to meet Lee Westwood (Eng, 1)

Retief Goosen (RSA, 5) v Ian Woosnam (Wal)
Winner to meet Colin Montgomerie (Sco, 4)

Nick Faldo (Eng) v Padraig Harrington (Ire, 6)
Winner to meet Darren Clarke (NIrl, 3)

Seve Ballesteros (Spa) v Sam Torrance (Sco)
Winner to meet Vijay Singh (Fij, 2).


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