Saturday, 19 July 2014
Bob Torrance (R) and family as son Sam is presented with a bottle of whisky from Ken Schofield  (EuropeanTour)
Bob Torrance (R) and family as son Sam is presented with a bottle of whisky from Ken Schofield (EuropeanTour)

Renowned golf coach Bob Torrance has died at the age of 82, his son Sam has confirmed.
 
Torrance was best known for his work not only with his son but also two-time Open champion Padraig Harrington, who he tutored to both his Claret Jugs in 2007 and 2008.
 
Torrance had been battling cancer for some time and Sam, the 2002 Ryder Cup Captain, announced he had passed away on Twitter on Friday evening.
 
"Sad day my dad just passed away peacefully in his sleep #reallygoingtomisshim," he said.
 
As well as Harrington, Torrance also coached Paul McGinley among a host of others, but will be best remembered for his work with the former, who once described his coach as a 'genius'.
 
The pair were so close that Harrington used to stop at the family home in Largs with Torrance and his wife June, and following his first Open victory at Carnoustie the Irishman rang his mentor within 30 minutes of walking off the 18th green.
 
"Bob is the best swing coach in the world," Harrington said after successfully defending his title at Birkdale in 2008.
 
"You can see his genius in the way he can analyse any swing. He's spent his whole life examining the golf swing and his knowledge of cause and effect is just incredible."

On hearing of his death last night, Harrington said: "He was the greatest golf coach in the world and he was a father figure to me after my own dad passed away.

“Every single player he worked with was a ball-striker and they won tournaments.

“My majors would never have happened without Bob. Not a chance. He was absolutely a critical part of me winning major tournaments.

“So there is a great legacy from Bob, none more so than his son Sam, and I’m sure Sam and June will dearly miss him. But I don’t think anybody should have any regrets because Bob lived a full life."
 
European Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley, who was coached by Torrance for over 20 years, said: “This is an incredibly sad day as we have lost one of life’s, as well as one of golf’s, really true characters and my thoughts are obviously with June and Sam at this difficult time.
 
“I feel blessed to have known Bob for many years and to have had him as my coach since 1992. Not only was he a world class golf coach, a fact recognised right across the game, but he was also one of my very favourite people in life. I will dearly miss his teaching and his wit.

“I feel very fortunate that I got the chance to say goodbye to him in person last week when I drove down to his home at Largs during the Scottish Open at Royal Aberdeen. Despite his obvious ill health, he still retained his fantastic sense of humour and love of golf and the memory of that afternoon will stay with me.”
 

 

Torrance, well known for putting long hours into his craft, was also a keen disciple of Ben Hogan and used to visit the nine-time major winner at his home in Fort Worth, Texas.
 
Another former pupil Marc Warren learned the news of his death soon after completing his second round at the Open Championship at Hoylake.
 
The 33-year-old paid tribute, saying: "It is a sad day for golf, a legend has passed away. It is a sad day for everyone involved.
 
"He changed my career massively. I still to this day - and will for the rest of my career - use his teaching and his words of wisdom, the great stories that he had.
 
"He has been a massive influence on my life and my career and I can't thank him enough."
 
Warren credits Torrance for reviving his game and enabling him to compete at a high level.
 
He said: "He had a massive influence in my career and I might not be playing at this level if it was not for him.
 
"What they now understand about ball flight, Bob was teaching years ago. I cannot speak highly enough of him. He gave you absolutely everything he had to make you the best player you could possibly be. I will forever be in his debt for that."
 
George O’Grady, Chief Executive of The European Tour, said: “The Tour mourns the passing of one of golf’s great coaches who was very much part of the fabric of the Tour. So many players owe so much for his teaching and he was one of the great characters in the golfing family. Our condolences to Sam and June at this sad time.  We also mourn the loss of Hilary Barnes, the lady behind Brian Barnes, another great Ryder Cup player, in what is a very sad week for the European Tour.”

Ken Schofield, the former Executive Director of The European Tour, said: "Bob Torrance has been a permanent fixture for the duration of the European Tour and has imparted his own brand of wisdom and wit on every practice ground the Tour, The Ryder Cup and The Open Championship have been played. We will miss him, of course, but have wonderful memories to retain and fortunately with Sam his legacy remains."

Stephen Gallacher first linked up with Torrance when he was in the Scotland squad as an amateur. He worked with him for more than 20 years and cherished every bit of advice he was offered by Torrance’s gruff voice over the years.

“Everything I know about the game is probably through Bob,” said the Lothians man. “The first time I met him was down at Inverclyde and the snow was hitting the back of the bay. He was such a positive guy and I loved working with him.

“I went down to see him two or three weeks ago and it was sad to see him then. I really feel for June (his wife), (son) Sam and the rest of the family.

“I’ve got millions of stories about him. He was larger than life. He was always positive and funny, too. He would teach you for as long as you wanted to be there – even if it was in the dark.”

Many players took to Twitter to express their feelings on hearing the news.

Former Open Champion Darren Clarke paid his respects when he tweeted: “Very sad news about Bob Torrance. Spent many hours on the range with him up in Largs. I would not be where I am today without Bob. #RIPBOB”

Ian Poulter tweeted: "Really sad news Bob Torrance just passed away. An amazing man who coached so many great players. He will be missed. Bob #RIP."

Sergio Garcia posted: “Very sad to hear the passing of the true golf coaching legend Bob Torrance today! Our best wishes and love to June&Sam at this time #RIPBob”

Luke Donald said: “Bob Torrance lived and breathed golf, a true gentlemen admired by all, he will be missed. Thoughts with June and Sam at this time #RIPBob”

Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano tweeted: “Sorry to hear about Bob Torrance. Golf legend and a true gentleman. My thoughts are with you @torrancesam. As he used to say: #AdiosAmigo”

Justin Rose:  “Really sad to hear the passing of Bob Torrance. Always stopped to chat with him and his wife June. Great people.”

Paul Lawrie: “Mega sad to hear the news of bob Torrance passing away what a character he was. #gonnamisshim”

Tony Johnstone wrote: “So sorry to hear of the passing of legend "Uncle" Bob Torrance. One of the truly great coaches. He changed my career.”

 

 

Sean Connery, in his foreword for “Room at the Top - Golf The Torrance Way” (Bob Torrance with Norman Mair), says: “Bob works with what you have got, keeps it simple and has what in many another walk of life would more readily be recognised as flair. Only a few years ago he was just Sam Torrance’s father, the professional-cum-green-keeper at the public course of Routenburn in Largs. Today, the most famous names in golf beat a path to his door, and yet his fame as a teacher has spread not by lavish projection in golfing magazines or expensive advertising, but simply by word of mouth on the part of a gratefully appreciative and growing clientele. I count myself lucky to be among their number.”

Sam Torrance in the Introduction writes: “My father has been my sole teacher. Indeed, it is one of my greater satisfactions that having the swing he gave me in the shop window, in the sense of being on the professional tour, is always said to have sown the seeds of the enviable reputation he now enjoys as a teacher….His label nowadays, and it is one of which I am probably as proud as he is, is that of the pros’ pro but I have hardly seen a golfer whom he could not have hitting the ball well in an hour.”

Bob Torrance did not swing a golf club until he was 16. Four years later he was playing off scratch, turned professional at 20 and became assistant to Jock McKellar at his local club Largs in Ayrshire. Sam was born when Bob was earning £6 a week and then at the age of 27 Bob was appointed professional and head green-keeper to Rossendale, a nine hole course in Lancashire. In 1963 he returned to Largs as professional-cum-green-keeper at Routenburn.

 

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