SAM TORRANCE has described Ireland’s Rory McIlroy as the ‘hottest prospect to have emerged in 20 years’.
The Scot also believes that the Holywood sensation has the potential to win a major this year.
When asked who he thought could emerge as a major candidate, Torrance said: “You have got to look to young Rory McIlroy. He is the hottest prospect we have had in 20 years. It could be this year (that he wins a major). He won the Dubai classic, he has won on tour, he is ready for anything.
“I knew him when he was 13 — he actually came to stay with me for a week, he was a friend of my sons and we played a lot of golf — and I saw a huge talent in him. He has come on leaps and bounds since then.
“He handles the spotlight well, he has just been offered his card in America which he turned down and I thought was a move beyond his years. Any kid given a card in America would have snapped it up but he doesn’t need that.
“He is ranked 14 on the world, he is in all the majors all the WGC events, he can play virtually where he wants, so not to commit to that at such an early stage was definitely a decision beyond his years.’’
Torrance also backed Colin Montgomerie to win back the Ryder Cup in 2010, claiming Europe will ‘continue to dominate’ the biennial event.
Torrance captained Europe to victory over the Americans at the K Club in 2006 and although Nick Faldo’s team lost the trophy at Valhalla in 2008, he believes Montgomerie will return Europe to its winnings ways at Celtic Manor when next the US and Europe clash in 2010.
“We are the better team,’’ says Torrance. “I thought we were a better team last time but we didn’t play as well as they did.
“I think it was just a pause in the European domination and we will continue to dominate for a good while yet.’’
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