Collin Morikawa ‘extraordinary’ but Bryson DeChambeau is closest to Tiger Woods, insists Sam Torrance, as European touring legend talks about DP World Tour and Rory McIlroy
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As the last Ryder Cup showed, times are changing in golf. Just ask the legendary Sam Torrance.
It’s become a whole new game since his last victory on the European Tour (soon to be the DP World Tour) in 1998.
Redesigned circuits get new titles, training goes further and Team USA can beat Team Europe.
But even though golf is currently dominated by Americans, the future of the game looks bright.
Very fitting, then, that one of his most exciting young players, Collin Morikawa, leads the Race to Dubai ahead of the big European Tour climax at the DP World Tour Championship this weekend.
The Champion Golfer of the Year, a star on Steve Stricker’s successful Ryder Cup squad, drew comparisons to Tiger Woods for breaking onto the scene so impressively at such a young age.
Indeed, Morikawa and Woods are the only players to have won the Open and the USPGA Championship before turning 25, doing things that defy belief in the process.
But while Torrance loves Morikawa, the iconic Scotsman insists that no one can be compared to Woods.
And if he were forced to choose the closest thing, the triumphant captain of Team Europe in 2002 would go for another young American…
“There’s no one like Tiger Woods,” Torrance told talkSPORT.com via BoyleSports Golf Betting. “It’s the God, the riddle, I don’t think we’ll ever see people like him again.” Morikawa is an extraordinary and fantastic player. But Tiger was dynamic.
“Morikawa is more of a Neil Coles of my time, a good player, but not Tiger Woods! He’s so far ahead of pretty much anything we’ve ever seen. If you sit down and read his record. Jack Nicklaus is extraordinary and always will be, especially his finalists. But Woods is different.
“I think Bryson DeChambeau is the closest thing to what Tiger was when he burst onto the scene. He’s created so much excitement, but they all have so much to do before they approach Tiger.
DeChambeau – the tough, hard-hitting golf scientist – has sparked much controversy with his approach, as the gambling authorities continually attempt to protect him from his “bomb and gauge” technique.
But Torrance is a fan. He continued, “It’s extraordinary. My dad taught me all my life and the first thing he taught me was to make a shoulder turn as big as possible, hit it as far as possible and we’ll straighten it out later. Sadly he’s passed away now and we’ve never been able to straighten him out enough!
“But it was always about power and I like the way they developed the game. They reduced the length of the driver and that doesn’t bother me at all.
“I thought the Ryder Cup in Paris was the way to put the brakes on long car journeys. When you missed the fairway, you went out to the side, you can’t touch the green.
“But for someone who has developed this length of conduct in their arsenal, taking that away would break my heart, that’s what it is about!”
One player who has tried a little too hard to match DeChambeau’s absurd power is Rory McIlroy.
The Northern Irishman even admitted that the speed drills may have ruined his near-perfect swing in a candid interview last year.
Despite a scorching Ryder Cup, McIlroy returned to the winner’s circle with a CJ Cup victory in October, and success wasn’t the only thing that came back.
The 32-year-old, without a major for seven years, is back at work with childhood instructor Michael Bannon after a brief stint with swing guru Pete Cowen.
And Torrance thinks that maybe Rory has finally learned an important lesson.
“Some players have tried to find something more,” added the 68-year-old.
“But I think he realizes now that he doesn’t need anything more. It can go up to 320. Okay, it’s not 350, but it’s far enough for any golf course ever built. He returned, not to the essential, but to what he knows.
“They all talk about every position he’s in on the backswing, downswing, following – every position is the perfect position.
“Rory is a very smart kid, a lovely kid, he came and stayed with me for a week when he was 14, so I know him well. I think this return to Michael will be a great initiative for him to perfect what he has.
“You don’t have to strive for perfection. My father searched for the secret all his life and he never found it.
It’s something even the part-time hacker can relate to, right there.
Torrance was, however, much better than that – and this weekend marks the end of an era he knew better than most.
The legendary Scottish golfer has won the European Tour 21 times – which won’t be called that once the DP World Tour Championship concludes on Sunday.
Given that two Americans, Morikawa and Billy Horshel, are the most likely to win this season’s Race to Dubai – it’s time for the Tour’s name to reflect its global status.
From next season, the European Tour will become the DP World Tour, with 47 tournaments in 27 different countries and a total fund exceeding $ 200 million for the first time.
And Torrance, who was there when the Tour first formed in 1972, remembers fond memories and looks forward to an exciting future.
“Well, considering that I was there when it started in 1972, and I was there for 46 years, it was quite extraordinary,” he added.
“But I think it’s an amazing gesture from the European Tour, Keith Pelley and the staff there. We did a world tour for a while without being called a world tour.
“It’s the start of a new era. It will change the face of it. In a year, two, three, all of these great places will be hosting golf and that will create a lot of opportunities for players who might not have had them. It’s fantastic.”
He added: “It gave me life and I couldn’t have dreamed of more. The European tour was my home and my life. I made great friendships, good memories, Ryder Cups, tournaments won. My fondest memory would be being captain of the Ryder Cup, it was just wonderful.
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