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Sam Torrance reaches unique milestone

Sam Torrance has walked round the world one-and-a-half times during his long and distinguished career and reaches a unique milestone at this week's Scottish Open, his 700th European Tour event.

"It is amazing to think about it when you look at it like that," the 52-year-old Briton told reporters.

"If you were starting tomorrow and you thought you'd be playing that many, you would be in a white jacket in about four years."

The popular Scotsman, who captained Europe to Ryder Cup victory at the Belfry in 2002, thanked his father Bob, who also doubles as his golf coach, for the special help he had given him over the years.

"It has been a fantastic 35 years (on tour)," said Sam. "I have many people to thank, my Dad primarily for giving me the swing I've got and making it last this long.

"But golf is the biggest thing I want to thank because it has given me an unbelievable life, lots of highs, lots of lows and lots of fun. It's been great.

"Hopefully, over my career, I have given something back to the many followers that I have had for 35 years, who have made life a lot easier on the course."

Torrance, who has walked approximately 16,330 miles (26,275 kms) while playing on tour and taken about 178,000 strokes, focuses his attention on the seniors circuit these days.

He won 21 times on the main tour and holds the record for the biggest gap (22 years) between his first and latest victories, the 1976 Piccadilly Medal and the 1998 French Open.

Sadly Torrance never won the title he cherishes above all others, the British Open.

Asked if the British Senior Open was now his target, he replied: "Absolutely, especially this year at Turnberry.

"The British Senior Open would be fantastic...and it is the British Open."

Torrance turned professional in 1970, aged 16. His first tournament was a year later, the AGFA-Gevaert at Stoke Park where he collected the princely sum of £35.10 for finishing 39th.

"I think I put it towards a little scooter," said Torrance. "The following year my Dad sent down my first car from Scotland, a Vanden Plas, a great little car."

Torrance, having accumulated career earnings of almost £3.8 million , can now afford something a little more ostentatious.  

"I have a nice 7 Series BMW. You could have put the Vanden Plas in the boot," he joked.

Looking back on his career, Torrance said it was easy to pick out the most memorable moment.

"Being Ryder Cup captain is without a doubt the highlight, by a million, million miles," he said.

"I was in the limelight for three years and that was fantastic. I don't care what anyone says, we all love the limelight and it was great, the whole thing."

Asked if he could choose a place to play golf for the rest of his life, the proud Scotsman did not have to think long for an answer.

"St Andrews, the home of golf, definitely," he said. "There is nothing like it, the atmosphere, the test of golf.

"I think the British Open should stay there (every year). I'd like to see it.

July 13, 2006


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