Sam Torrance, back in the Toyota World Match Play championship at Wentworth after a 10-year absence, has been given a difficult task in his attempt to win the pounds 170,000 first prize on Sunday.
The 42-year-old Scotsman, leading money-winner in Europe this season with over pounds 630,000, meets the world No 3, Bernhard Langer, in tomorrow's opening round and, if successful takes on the world No 2, Nick Price, in the quarter-finals.
"It was always going to be tough but Langer is definitely a tough one," said Torrance after practising with the Ryder Cup captain, Bernard Gallacher, yesterday afternoon. "His strength is his mind. He is very determined, very steely and has a great will to win. And he has an incredible short game."
The clash of the two Ryder Cup team-mates is easily the most attractive of the four first-round matches. In the others, last year's runner-up, Colin Montgomerie, faces 24-year-old American David Duval, Costantino Rocca takes on Vijay Singh, and Lee Janzen, second on this season's US money list, is up against Japan's Katsuyoshi Tomori.
The top four seeds, who all enter the fray on Friday, are, in order, Ernie Els, Ben Crenshaw, Steve Elkington, and Price.
On his two previous appearances in the event, in 1984 and 1985, Torrance went out in the first round to Toru Nakamura two and one and then to Tommy Nakajima six and five. "I've been Naka-ered both times," he joked.
Montgomerie pulled out of the German Masters last Thursday with a tendon injury but has taken things easy since and is expected to be fully fit.
TOYOTA WORLD MATCH PLAY CHAMPIONSHIP (Wentworth): First-round draw (tomorrow): 8.15am and 12.30pm: L Janzen (US) v K Tomori (Japan). Winner to play E Els (SA). 8.30am and 12.45pm: S Torrance (GB) v B Langer (Ger). Winner to play N Price (Zim). 8.45 and 1pm: C Montgomerie (GB) v D Duval (US). Winner to play S Elkington (Aus). 9am and 1.15pm: C Rocca (It) v V Singh (Fiji). Winner to play B Crenshaw (US).Reuse content