Sam Torrance receives European Tour Honorary Life Membership

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Sam Torrance has become the 52nd player to receive Honorary Life Membership of the European Tour. 

The former Ryder Cup Captain is being recognised for his record-breaking European Tour career, and will join the likes of Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson and 49 others as he becomes the latest addition to the exclusive group of Honorary Life Members of the European Tour. 

The European Tour plays host to the BMW PGA Championship this week to mark its first event of the new Rolex Series, and Torrance was recognised at Tuesday night's Championship Reception when he was presented with the award by European Tour Chairman David Williams. 

Torrance, who turned professional in 1970 and broke the European Tour record for number of tournaments played by any player - an astonishing 706 events - said the award was very special. 

He said: “It’s fantastic. It’s been my whole life. I should really be honouring the European Tour for giving me such an arena to play golf. What a life. It has been so rewarding – the people I’ve met, the places, I’ve been. What a journey.

“It’s very special to receive this honour. The European Tour has always made me feel very special though.

“The Ryder Cup captaincy was definitely the highlight of my career but I’ve many memories. I won the Australian PGA in 1980, which to this day is still my biggest win. I played with Seve the last two rounds. Seve finished second, Greg Norman finished third. I beat the pair of them and when I came off the last green, Seve said, “hey Sam, you’re very tough to beat”.

"For someone as legendary as that to say that to me, it gave me so much confidence. Up to that point I’d only won twice and hadn’t played in The Ryder Cup yet. I went on to win a few and play in a few Ryder Cups and a lot was down to that great man.”

While widely known for his record-breaking appearances and 21 European Tour wins and 11 Senior European Tour wins, Sam Torrance is arguably most revered for his involvement in Ryder Cups. 

He played in eight successive contests between 1981 and 1995, most memorably sinking the winning putt at The Belfry in 1985 which sealed Europe’s first ever victory over the United States of America since players from the Continent had become part of the contest in 1979.

Torrance then returned to The Belfry as Captain in 2002, leading Europe to a famous 15½ - 12½ triumph, coincidentally the largest winning margin for a European team since that historic victory at the same course in 1985.

Sam Torrance winning the Ryder Cup as Captain

David Williams said: “Sam has had the most extraordinary golf career and the most extraordinary life. In 29 years, the European Tour has only awarded the Honorary Life Membership to 52 players such is the prestige of it.

"It is truly a roll call of golfing honour and such a privilege to present this award to him.”

This makes Torrance the sixth Scot to receive the award (with Sandy Lyle, Colin Montgomerie, Paul Lawrie, John Panton and Gallacher) and it follows the MBE he was awarded in 1996 for services to golf, and then an OBE in the 2003 New Year's Honours list. 

Honorary Life Members of The European Tour

1978 John Jacobs

1978 Bernard Hunt MBE

1978 Dai Rees CBE

1982 Peter Butler

1983 Seve Ballesteros

1983 Tony Jacklin CBE

1985 Sir Henry Cotton MBE

1985 Fred Daly MBE

1985 Max Faulkner OBE

1985 Bernhard Langer

1985 Sandy Lyle MBE

1987 Sir Nick Faldo MBE

1992 Ian Woosnam OBE

1994 José María Olazábal

1995 Bob Charles CBE

1995 Arnold Palmer

1995 Gary Player

1997 Colin Montgomerie OBE

1998 Ernie Els

1999 Paul Lawrie OBE

1999 Greg Norman

2001 Vijay Singh

2002 Retief Goosen

2003 Peter Alliss

2003 Bernard Gallacher OBE

2004 Neil Coles MBE

2004 Christy O’Connor

2004 John Panton MBE

2005 Michael Campbell

2007 Angel Cabrera

2007 Padraig Harrington

2008 Trevor Immelman

2010 Martin Kaymer

2010 Graeme McDowell MBE

2010 Louis Oosthuizen

2010 Tom Watson

2011 Darren Clarke OBE

2011 Rory McIlroy MBE

2011 Charl Schwartzel

2011 Lee Westwood OBE

2012 Luke Donald MBE

2012 Brian Huggett MBE

2012 Tommy Horton MBE

2012 Mark James

2012 Roger Chapman

2013 Dave Thomas

2013 Justin Rose MBE

2014 Jack Nicklaus

2016 Peter Oosterhuis

2016 Danny Willett 

2016 Henrik Stenson

2017 Sam Torrance OBE