Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Torrance Getting Tough as He Splits Top Pair

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Torrance Getting Tough as He Splits Top Pair

Article excerpt

Byline: DAVID SMITH

EUROPEAN Ryder Cup captain Sam Torrance today revealed a ruthless streak when he split close friends Darren Clarke and Lee Westwood, and Sergio Garcia and Jesper Parnevik, for the first practice rounds at The Belfry.

Garcia, the flamboyant young Spaniard, and Parnevik, the eccentric Swede, were Europe's most successful pairing in the last Ryder Cup at Brookline three years ago when they won three of their four matches and halved the other.

It seemed as though the two men would go on to spearhead Europe's attack for a second time when, just over a year ago, Torrance picked them as his wild cards in a 12-man squad.

But Parnevik has suffered a dramatic slump in form, particularly with his putting, since the original tie was postponed after the terrorist attacks in America.

When the European team were cheered onto the first tee by a huge gallery today, Garcia was paired with experienced German Bernhard Langer and Parnevik was with Ryder Cup rookie Paul McGinley.

Clarke and Westwood, who won two and lost two at Brookline, are mates on and off the golf course. But Westwood, who just two years ago won the European Order of Merit, has crashed down the world rankings from 17th last September to 148th in the latest list.

In a bid to boost Westwood's confidence Torrance today paired him with veteran Cup campaigner Colin Montgomerie, while Clarke went out with Denmark's Thomas Bjorn.

Torrance also kept apart the Swedes Niclas Fasth and Pierre Fulke. Fasth played with Ireland's Padraig Harrington, while Fulke partnered Welshman Phillip Price.

On the American side a prediction by Mark Calcavecchia that he might be paired with Tiger Woods when the action starts on Friday was lent further credence when the two men teed it up together today.

Last week world No1 Woods laughed all the way to the bank. …

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