Golf: The Ryder Cup: EUREKA! EUROPE 15 1/2 USA 12 1/2; Sam Slams U.S. and Is Told: Lead Us to Glory in 2004
Byline: ALEX SPINK
SAM TORRANCE inspired Europe to Ryder Cup glory and was then urged to stay on as captain to defend the trophy.
Slammin' Sam was hailed as conquering hero after the European underdogs ripped up the formbook and romped to a stunning 151/2-121/2 victory.
On a day which will pass into sporting legend, the Americans were handed what US captain Curtis Strange admitted was a "European butt-whipping".
A singles format said to favour the United States produced just two wins for the superpower as Torrance took a selection gamble and sent out his big guns first. It paid off in spectacular fashion.
No sooner had Irish star Paul McGinley sunk the putt which reclaimed the trophy for Europe than Nick Faldo, favourite to lead the team next time, insisted Torrance should continue.
"Sam has done such a fantastic job and it's only right that he should stay on," said Faldo. "I'd love to do it but Sam deserves the chance to defend it."
Crowds chanted "There's only one Sam Torrance" at the closing ceremony during which the emotional skipper admitted: "I shall remember this for ever.
"This has been very special to me. Only the birth of my children and the marriage to my wife has meant more to me.
"We were great, absolutely great and out of the shadows come heroes. That's where Phillip Price and Paul McGinley came from."
It was a masterstroke by Torrance to send his stars out first and hope they could inspire the lesser names. The plan worked to perfection. Montgomerie, Bernhard Langer, Padraig Harrington and Thomas Bjorn won four of the top six matches, with Darren Clarke weighing in with a half-point against David Duval. …