Victorious Ryder Cup Captains Sam Torrance and Ian Woosnam have spoken of their excitement for Peter Baker ahead of the Midlander’s European Senior Tour debut at the Farmfoods European Senior Masters.
Baker is acting as tournament host at Forest of Arden Marriott Hotel & Country Club, as the Senior Tour returns to England for the third time this season.
Torrance, who made his Senior Tour debut in 2003, is an 11-time winner on the over-50s circuit and predicts that Baker will make great strides in the next chapter of his career.
“This is enormous for him,” said Torrance. “He’s been waiting ages for this. It’s so special, turning 50, it’s a fantastic feeling.
“You find yourself in that limbo between finishing on the European Tour and waiting a few years until you can start on the Senior Tour. You’re there waiting on the starting blocks and, when you get going, it’s like a brand new career.
“It was exactly the same for me. I couldn’t wait until I turned 50. Peter’s going to go out there and win tournaments on this Tour, I’m sure.”
Baker, a three-time winner on the European Tour, was a member of Europe’s 1993 Ryder Cup side and one of Woosnam’s vice captains at The 2006 Ryder Cup
“I’ve been waiting a few years for this, and it’ll be nice to get started again,” he said. “I’m looking forward to playing again and see what’s left of the game.
“I’ve played in a few Pro-Ams to get something going, but you don’t know until you get out there.
“It’s great having these guys come and support the event. With Paul McGinley too, we have three Ryder Cup-winning captains in the field.”
Woosnam, who will be making his first start since his induction into the World Golf Hall of Fame, added: “I’ve taken some time off over the last few months after the Travis Perkins Masters; I just wanted a bit of a break.
“But with it being Peter’s debut event, I wanted to come and play to support the Senior Tour and Farmfoods as well.”
Out of the 14 Ryder Cup players in the 54-man field, three have tasted success at the Forest of Arden. Woosnam and Philip Walton won the English Open during the 1990s and Barry Lane won the British Masters in 2004.
“I felt really comfortable on the course during practise,” said Lane. “To win the British Masters here was amazing. I remember the course very well. I played really well on the final day and won by three shots, it looked comfortable but around this course it was anything but.
“It’s a long course, and with the rain it’ll be a bit of a monster. But if you can drive it well, it gives you an opportunity to get it close. It’s a good shot-maker’s course.”Also in the field are former European Tour Number One Ronan Rafferty and double Senior Major champion Roger Chapman.