Novatel Perrier French Open
Novatel Perrier French Open
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Champion Torrence out of French Open

Sam Torrance's defence of his Novotel Perrier French Open title ended before it could begin as the injury-prone Scot was forced to withdraw from the £600,000 event in Bordeaux.

The 45-year-old Scot won his 21st European Tour title last year but has since suffered a frustrating 12 months with a number of injuries that have hampered his progress.

He has missed four out of five cuts this season and currently languishes in 186th in the Order of Merit and only 40th in the race to qualify for a cherished ninth Ryder Cup appearance.

But despite such setbacks Torrance remains confident he can rediscover his form, and more importantly, fitness in time to force his way in Mark James' European team to face the United States in Boston in September.

"It's been a very frustrating year, I'm just not able to play because of this rib injury," Torrance said before catching an early flight home.

"But it's not the end of it because I've got the main crux of events to come. I can still fulfil my dream of making the Ryder Cup team again.

"I'm not too perturbed at the moment. I was 14th going into the year and I'm sure if I won a tournament in the next few weeks I'd be back in contention for the Ryder Cup which is what I want.

"It's not like we're down to the last two events and I have to win them both, I'm not panicking yet. I've no doubt in my mind I'll make it, it's just getting started.

"It's been the most disappointing start to a season by a million miles. I've never had anything close to this before.

"I've had injuries over the years but generally they've been just for three or four days but this has been since February. It's just going on and on. The work I did with an osteopath on Monday may have set my body back for a while but in the end it will be better."

The injury is the latest in a long line to plague the Wentworth-based golfer in recent years but he believes it can be traced back to an infamous accident in 1993.

"We think it came from when I hit that plant pot all those years ago," Torrance added. "It was at The Belfry just before the English Open and during the night I ran into a plant pot.

"I smashed the thing to smithereens and also fractured my sternum which put me out for a few weeks and we think this rib problem stemmed from that. I could have an operation where they tie the rib to stop it popping out but I think I'd rather go for the uncut version!"

Another player facing an uphill struggle to make the Ryder Cup is victorious captain in Valderrama in 1997 Seve Ballesteros who has only just began to show signs of emerging from a long slump.

The Spaniard had a closing 67 in the final round of the Italian Open last week and a 69 in Wednesday's pro-am, prompting Ryder Cup partner and Masters champion Jose Maria Olazabal to talk up the five-time major winner's chances of making the 12-man team later this year.

But Ballesteros is adopting a casual attitude insisting: "I'm not that interested in playing the Ryder Cup.

"If I'm playing well then yes, but I'm not worried if someone is going to pick me or this or that. It will all depend on me. If I'm playing good then I'll make the team.

"The Ryder Cup is a great event and is safe now for a few years. The players are good enough to keep up with the Americans, with or without me. Sergio Garcia is a good pick for the cup. New mind, new blood, no fear."

Ballesteros is joined in the field at Golf du Medoc this week by Olazabal, Wales' Ian Woosnam and last week's winner Dean Robertson of Scotland.