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Last Updated: Sunday, 19 September, 2004, 22:54 GMT 23:54 UK
Europe's greatest Ryder Cup star?
From left to right: Tony Jacklin, Seve Ballesteros, Nick Faldo, Sam Torrance, Bernhard Langer, Colin Montgomerie

Who is your greatest European Ryder Cup player?

SIX OF THE BEST

Colin Montgomerie has been crowned the BBC Sport website users' ultimate European Ryder Cup legend.

Throughout the 35th Ryder Cup we asked you to vote for your best player from one of six worthy contenders but the seven-time Cup veteran received 49% of the vote to beat Nick Faldo and Seve Ballesteros by a mile.

This year you have also crowned Jack Nicklaus as your king of the Masters and voted Tom Watson as your greatest Open champion.


Sam Torrance
By Rob Hodgetts

Sam Torrance won the Ryder Cup as captain in 2002
Born: 24/8/53, Scotland
Ryder Cup appearances: 9 1981, 1983, 1985 (winners), 1987 (w), 1989, 1991, 1993, 1995 (w); 2002 (capt./w)
Ryder Cup record: Played 28, won 7, lost 15, halved 6
Points scoring ratio: 36%

To be a Ryder Cup hero once would be most golfers idea of nirvana but Sam Torrance did it twice - 17 years apart.

The Scotsman holed the winning putt in the historic 1985 victory at The Belfry and returned as captain in 2002 to lead his side to another famous victory.

Through the tears, Torrance described the triumph two years ago as the "greatest moment in my career" and said of his team, "I just led them to the water and they drank copiously".

The Largs-born Torrance left school at 13, turned professional at 16 and made his European Tour debut at 17, but it was not until he was 28 that he made his Ryder Cup debut at Walton Heath in 1981.

Despite only winning a half point from four matches he went on to play in every European side for the next seven Ryder Cups.

But without doubt his crowning glory as a player was as part of the team that won the Cup back in 1985 for the first time in 28 years.

Torrance went up against Andy North in the final-day singles and fell as much as three holes down.

He fought back to all-square going down the 18th and as North sunk his drive into the water, Torrance holed an 18-foot putt for a birdie and a historic win.

Sam Torrance holed the winning putt in 1985
Torrance celebrates holing the winning putt in 1985

Arms aloft and tears streaming down his face was set to be Torrance's enduring Ryder Cup image, until he capped it in 2002.

He took on his new role as skipper with passion and dedication, even hiring a public-speaking expert to help him with his speeches.

Under Torrance's popular leadership, Europe went into the singles locked 8-8 with an American side packed with stellar talent, including world number one Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson.

Needing four points to win, Torrance packed his top order with his biggest names, hoping to build some momentum and fire up the crowd to inspire the later players.

TOP EUROPEAN POINTS SCORERS
25 Nick Faldo
24 Bernhard Langer
22.5 Seve Ballesteros
18.5 Colin Montgomerie
17.5 Jose Maria Olazabal
17 Tony Jacklin
16.5 Ian Woosnam

The strategy worked perfectly as Colin Montgomerie, in sensational form, trounced Scott Hoch 5&4 in the first match.

Only Sergio Garcia of the first six players failed to score at least half a point.

Another half from Swede Niclas Fasth and Welshman Phil Price's stunning victory over, the then world number two, Mickelson took Europe to the brink on 13 points, needing just a half to ensure glory.

Up next was Ireland's Paul McGinley, who had trailed opponent Jim Furyk since the second hole before drawing level at 17.

Both players scrambled their way onto the green at the 18th before McGinley was left with a 10-footer for the Ryder Cup.

He bravely rolled it in, sparking delirious celebrations and more tears from Torrance, who had proved to be a skilled tactician, ambassador and all-round inspiration for his side.





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