Torrance Not Pleased with Champions Start

By George WhiteFebruary 20, 2004, 5:00 pm
Champions TourWell, lets see ' Sam Torrance came over from Scotland, where he shivered in Eskimo conditions for most of the winter. He came to Florida, which has been unseasonably mild for much of the winter. He has kept his new Champions Tour mates in high comedy, which everyone predicted. And - he hasnt done diddly on the golf course. No one predicted that.
 
Its just that Im putting terribly, Torrance grimaced the first day of the ACE Group Classic last week in Naples. I havent putted well in two weeks. I played great today, but I couldnt make anything.
 
A tie for 29th in the Royal Caribbean tie for 53rd last week its a long way to come from Scotland to be so disheartened.
 
Its just me, he said, refusing to lay the blame on Floridas grasses that are so different from Scotlands. I havent played since tour school, really. The speed of the greens is killing me.
 
And why hasnt Sam played?
 
You been in Scotland lately? asked Torrance with a chuckle, alluding to the cold weather there. Thats why I havent played. Its been awfully cold up there.
 
Torrance had hoped to make a little better debut. Hes 50 years old now. Two years ago he was the toast of Europe, having just scuttled the Americans in the Ryder Cup. He was the European captain, the brains behind Europes brawn, and the victory was the highlight of a career that reached back to 1970.
 
The Cup, obviously, was Sams greatest achievement. By a mile, he interjects, then repeats himself two more times. By a mile. By a mile. Its better than anything - better than anything in golf.
 
It is my vocation. I did a good job, and it was great. I really enjoyed it.
 
At the moment, however, his vocation is rather amiss. He was busy making a mess of his first two Champions Tour opportunities. His wife and children remain across the Atlantic. Torrance is here is the U.S., shouldering on through the first month of the season.
 
There was never any question after he survived the Champions Tour qualifying school that most of his time would be spent in America this year. If I was going for my card, I was coming over. I wasnt going to do that for nothing, he said, a little chuckle again surfacing.
 
What would provoke a man who has a wife and children in Britain ' a national hero nonetheless ' to pull up stakes and come to the U.S.? Torrance has asked himself that question more than once the past couple of weeks. But the answer is as clear as the dollar bills in his wallet.
 
The prize money is huge over here, he said.
 
When you get to be 50, youre starting on the downslope. And you know, I dont have long (to make money.) Its not like youre 18 and have your whole life ahead of you. Were 50 now, and thats it, you know. This is the downslope, youve got to get it in as quick as you can.
 
Hes in a bit of a quandary about where to stay, how long to have his family stay when they do a chance to join him. This will be by far the longest the separations have lasted. And yes, it hurts a little.
 
Yeah, its tough, he says. Thats the toughest part, the only aspect I dont like. I love everything else, but Im missing my kids and my family. But I have no other choice.
 
In fact, that is the reason Torrance didnt attempt to bring his game to the States 15 years ago. He couldnt stand the thought of separation. I just like being home, he said simply.
 
Sam will make a frenzied trip home to Scotland next week, then return to the U.S. for three more weeks of tournaments. He still is a bit dizzy over it all, feeling his way around. He plans to eventually find a place to call his second home.

Im just finding my way at the moment, he said. I hope to secure my card for next year early. Then I can look at it more positively. Its a bit stupid to buy a place now and then miss my card. So Ill play awhile and then get settled in.
 
He isnt surprised at anything the Champions Tour has thrown at him. There has been no rude awakenings at the high level of play.
 
Nah, Torrance said, I knew how good it was. Ive played over here quite a few times. I know how good this tour is.
 
His goals, he says are simple ' just keep hammering away, trying his best, and eventually see what happens.
 
Ill just play as good as I can, said Torrance. I love playing golf, and thats all Im doing.
 
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