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  Monday, 30 September, 2002, 17:38 GMT 18:38 UK
Torrance deserves legend status
European captain Sam Torrance kisses the Ryder Cup
Winning the Ryder Cup meant everything to Torrance


For me, the 2002 Ryder Cup was right up there with the best.

The European victory at Oak Hill in 1995 was very special, simply because they beat the Americans on their own patch.

But in terms of the achievement, this one was just as good - and in some ways even better.

We went into this year's match with very limited expectations and question marks over many of the European players.

Like most people who had seen a lot of Ryder Cups, I really did not think Europe could win.

American captain Curtis Strange certainly played into Europe's hands with his very eccentric singles order.

Somebody even put forward the theory that maybe American TV persuaded him to play his better players last because of the time difference, but I would tend to dismiss that one.

It was a wonderful strategy by Sam to put his best players out first, but I think most of us would have done that.

What ranks Sam's achievement up with those of Tony Jacklin, who won two out of four as captain, was the way he coaxed the very best out of his side.

Jacklin had some wonderful lieutenants, like Seve Ballesteros, Jose Maria Olazabal, Ian Woosnam, Bernhard Langer and Nick Faldo.

His was a team of major stars, and Major winners, whereas Sam only had one Major winner in the team.

But he got his team motivated and believing in themselves and it was absolutely collossal to do what he did with such an inexperienced team.

I know Sam agonised about playing all his players before the Sunday but I think he learned from Mark James' mistake at Brookline.

Two weeks ago Phillip Price said he could not play and he was not looking forward to the Ryder Cup.

But he goes out and beats Phil Mickelson 3&2.

That was part of Sam's inspiration. He convinced him he was a far better player than Price thought he was.

We really did not think the likes of Price and Paul McGinley had it in them to produce the kind of golf we saw on Sunday.

Of all the captains I've seen, there was not one who was so adored by the players.

They see him as a great character and a great friend too. Not one of them has a bad word to say about him.

He made Colin Montgomerie feel 15 feet tall and that filtered through to the rest of the team.

We have to rank Monty and Langer up with the likes of Ryder Cup greats Faldo and Ballesteros.

But there is still a lot more to come from both of them.

Monty could well go on to beat Faldo's Ryder Cup points record.

They always said Faldo was one up already when he walked out on to the tee and I think we can say the same about Monty now.

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