Ryder Cup 2014: European vice-captain Sam Torrance backs rookies Victor Dubuisson, Stephen Gallacher and Jamie Donaldson to shine

Torrence believes debuting trio can use the home atmosphere to lift their game and perform at Gleneagles

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The Independent Online

European vice-captain Sam Torrance has backed his side's rookies to thrive under the pressure of the Ryder Cup and make the most of the "huge" advantage of playing at home.

Victor Dubuisson, Stephen Gallacher and Jamie Donaldson will make their debuts in the biennial contest at Gleneagles this week as Europe look to defend the trophy won in such dramatic fashion at Medinah in 2012.

The pressure will be unlike anything the trio have experienced before, but 2002 winning captain Torrance has full confidence that they will rise to the occasion.

"A rookie is still a rookie but they are very highly qualified, competent golfers," Torrance, who was speaking on behalf of Standard Life Investments, Worldwide Partner of the Ryder Cup, told Press Association Sport.

"They're a rookie in Ryder Cup terms, but rookie is almost the wrong terminology.

 

"A first time Ryder Cupper would be a better way to say it because they are not rookies in any way shape or form. I have no fears for the rookies, I think they will enjoy it and revel in the atmosphere and the pressure."

Donaldson and Gallacher have at least already had a taste of how the course will play, with European captain Paul McGinley getting Celtic Manor set up as close as possible to Gleneagles for last week's Wales Open.

And Torrance believes home advantage could be crucial in deciding the outcome, with just one point separating the teams in 2010 and 2012.

"Home advantage is huge," Torrance added.

"Take for example Man Utd. I believe they water the pitch, flood the pitch virtually 20 minutes before kick-off because the ball skids across it much quicker and they think they are much fitter than other teams so that's what they do to set up Old Trafford to suit them.

"It's the same in the Ryder Cup. I thought Davis Love (US captain) did an incredible job at Medinah setting up the course, there wasn't a blade of rough anywhere and his long hitters were able to attack the golf course all week.

"At Gleneagles the last five holes are going to be extremely crucial. You have a driveable par four and two reachable par fives so you're going to have to make three or four birdies to keep pace.

"In 2002 their team was longer than my team so I narrowed the fairways up, they were quite generous up to about 280 yards, which was my team's optimum distance and from 280 onwards the fairways became quite narrow and the rough a bit longer.

"I put bunkers in on the corners of doglegs and cut all the rough down round the greens because they were slightly better and more used to that than we were.

"The greens were slightly slower than we were accustomed to, which would make it three times slower to the Americans. All above aboard, this is what home advantage means."

Sam Torrance was speaking on behalf of Standard Life Investments, Worldwide Partner of The Ryder Cup (visit YouTube.com/standardlifeinvest for exclusive Ryder Cup content).

PA

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