John Jacobs, the founding father of The European Tour, made a guest appearance at the Senior Tour Annual Dinner to present Sam Torrance with the award that bears his name.
Jacobs, who in 1971 became the first Executive Director of The European Tour, took part in the awards presentation as the Senior Tour celebrated an outstanding 2009 season at the annual dinner in the splendid setting of the Sculpture Gallery at Woburn Abbey.
Sponsors, promoters, host venues, players and supporters of the Senior Tour gathered on the eve of the Travis Perkins plc Senior Masters and were treated to a wonderful evening by the host, the Duke of Bedford, with delicious food and Follador wines, courtesy of the Follador family.
The John Jacobs Trophy is presented each year to the winner of the Senior Tour Order of Merit and Jacobs and Torrance were both clearly moved as the Scot picked up the award for the third year.
In presenting the John Jacobs Trophy, the renowned coach said: “Sam and his father have showed what good coaching can do! I took over as Executive Director of the Tour in 1971, the same year that Sam began his career. We have been together a long time and you have enjoyed a wonderful, long career. You have been a credit to the game.”
Torrance responded: “When you see my reaction coming off the 18th green at Castellon when Andy Stubbs told me I had won the Order of Merit, that shows how much this award means to me. John, we both started in 1971, you were my first Ryder Cup Captain. It is an honour and a privilege to receive this from you.”
Keith Waters, Chief Operating Officer of The European Tour, spoke on behalf of the Tour Group in congratulating Torrance. “For 40 years you have been a superb ambassador for the Tour. You have achieved almost everything that can be achieved as a player, Ryder Cup player and Captain. It is extremely gratifying that you have won this award for the third time.”
Torrance also received the Rolex Player of the Year Award, voted by the players, and was equally thrilled by the award.
“To win this at the age of 57 is wonderful, but to win an award voted by the players is extra special,” he said.
Australian Mike Harwood won the Rookie of the Year award after a magnificent first season during which he won the season-ending OKI Castellon Senior Tour Championship and finished ninth on the Order of Merit.
“The Senior Tour offered me a fantastic opportunity to play after 14 years away from tournament golf, ten years of which was working in a pro shop. I couldn’t wait to get out here and to win and finish in the top ten far exceeded my expectations,” he said.
American Jerry Bruner was another award winner, receiving the Lawrence Batley Award as the leading player aged 60 and over for the second successive year from Rita Firth, the daughter of the late Lawrence Batley.