With that red V-neck, a moustache so dense it could have hosted the Ardennes Offensive and his arms raised aloft like a preacher shrieking “Hallelujah!”, the picture of Sam Torrance standing in triumph having completed Europe’s 1985 Ryder Cup victory at The Belfry remains one of golf’s enduring images.

Torrance, himself, has endured. Between 1976 and 1998, for instance, he won 21 times on the European Tour while 11 more wins would come his way on the Senior Tour between 2004 and 2009. You can’t go on forever, though. Well, unless you’re Cliff Richard.

The other month, Torrance quietly announced he had retired from competitive golf. The fact he hadn’t played on the over-50s circuit for two years was a decent indicator that he had called it a day.

“Golf has been my life, it has been in my blood for so long but I don’t miss the competition now,” said the 66-year-old who racked up a record haul of 706 European Tour appearances during a long, fulfilling career.

“I am actually delighted I never have to hold a pencil in my hand again. I watch golf on the television and when I do commentate, I see the pressure there and I’m so delighted I don’t have that in my life any more.

The National:

“When I go and play at Sunningdale with my mates, I feel pressure and I feel nervous, and it’s just beyond belief.  I say to myself ‘why?’. But it’s there and I can’t help it.”

Stepping back from the tour frontline was a pretty easy decision for Torrance. For a born winner, the reality of not being able to compete at the sharp end was hammered home to him in cold, hard statistics.

“I said to my manager ‘give me my last three years of results including my score to par and best finishes’,” he added of this sobering fact-finding mission.

“I was more than 200-over par and my best finish was 35th in a 54-man field in 2017. So, I said ‘no, that’s it’. It wasn’t a difficult decision at all.”

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It’s nearly 50 years since Torrance turned professional. As a teenage rookie he made his initial, tentative steps on the European Tour during the circuit’s first  official season of 1972. It was an eye-opening start to life on tour.

“My first tournament was the Spanish Open,” reflected the former European Ryder Cup-winning captain. “We got to the hotel late on the Tuesday before the event. I was a 17-year old Scot and I knew no Spanish back then.

“We asked them (the hotel staff) where the golf course was and the reply was ‘que, que’. I showed them the address and the course was a three-hour drive away. So this my initiation to life on tour; staying three hours from the course.”

The National:

Things would improve, of course. “I was leading the John Player Trophy with nine holes left and s***ing myself,” said Torrance, who would go on to win the tour’s rookie of the year award in 1972.

“I think I finished up in the top-10. So I knew there was something there. I was very lucky to win prize money in my first year.”

Torrance did win in that rookie year, even though the Radici Open in Italy wasn’t included as an official event on the European Tour. It was a significant breakthrough, however.

“The week after the Italian Open (on the tour) was the Radici Open with exactly the same field,” he said of that early success. “Winning that gave me a lot of belief  and I never really looked back.

“I can’t say what my legacy will be. Perhaps, ‘he never won a major ... but he had fun?’”