Coach Bob Torrance passes at age 82

Bob Torrance, who died July 18, works at the 2010 Ryder Cup with Padraig Harrington.
Bob Torrance, who died July 18, works at the 2010 Ryder Cup with Padraig Harrington. ( Getty Images )

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Bob Torrance, the legendary Scottish golf coach, died today at his home in Largs, Scotland at the age of 82.

Torrance had been battling cancer for some time. His son Sam, a European Tour veteran and the 2002 Ryder Cup captain, announced via Twitter the elder Torrance had passed away on Friday evening.

"Sad day my dad just passed away peacefully in his sleep #reallygoingtomisshim," he said.

A highly regarded teacher, Torrance was known for his no-nonsense approach to teaching. He first demonstrated his magic on Sam, who won 21 times on the European Tour.

Torrance branched out during his son’s career and started working with many of the well-known professional golfers in Europe including Philip Walton, 2014 Ryder Cup Captain Paul McGinley, 2011 Open Champion Darren Clarke and three-time major winner Padraig Harrington.

“He touched so many people in the golfing game,” Harrington said after his second round at the Open Championship at Royal Liverpool. “You only have to go see some of the younger pros. He'd teach anybody for any reason and never charged them a penny up there. He was like a father figure to so many people.”

Harrington credited his 15 years of work with Torrance with changing his game – and believes he would not have won major championships without Torrance’s tutelage.

“It never would have happened without Bob, absolutely not,” Harrington said of winning majors. “He was an absolutely crucial part of me winning my major tournaments. You want to see the sort of ball striker I was before working with Bob, and he did a phenomenal job over those years. I completely rebuilt my swing under Bob Torrance, and as I said, it was always a joy to do it, a great experience.”

Harrington would literally spend hours and hours with Torrance on the range starting at 9:00 in the morning, go down for lunch, go back to practice until 6:00, have dinner – and even after dinner was done they would work another two or three hours.

“We were a perfect match because all Bob wanted was somebody to stand on the range with him,” Harrington said. “That's all he wanted was somebody who would spend as much time on the range as he would.

The duo would not split up, but Harrington decided he needed another set of eyes in July of 2011 – and called his decision not to work together a break and not a split.

Torrance also earned praise from his colleagues.

“He was a wonderful man, a wonderful asset to our game, and when you think about what Bob has done, how many people that he's helped, not only his own son some who was a great player but all the best players in the world that he's coached for so long, it's a great loss,” Butch Harmon said when hearing the news of Torrance’s passing. “The game of golf will really miss Bob Torrance.”