Interviews
Henrik Stenson
Interviews

Europe

Swedish duo excited by Le Golf National

Alex Noren may be a rookie this week but he will no need introduction to Le Golf National when the Ryder Cup gets under way on Friday.

The Swede won over the Paris layout in July when he claimed a second Rolex Series title at the HNA Open de France, after achieving top tens at the event in the previous two seasons.

He took the crown from fellow rookie Tommy Fleetwood and much has been made outside of the camp of how the European Team's knowledge of the Albatross Course could work in their favour against the Americans this week.

Noren is clearly one of those who feels particularly at home here, and he cannot wait to get going in what feels like a long-awaited Ryder Cup debut.

“Great memories,” he said. “It's a totally different thing playing as a team and as an individual but it's nice to be at a course where I've done well, especially the last three years, and it gives me confidence. 

“You don't have to play maybe perfect shots all the time. This course is all about patience and I think it's an unbelievable match play course.”

Noren has ten wins on the European Tour and his status as a rookie may only be explained by the timing of those victories.

His triumph at the 2016 Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open did not push him into the qualification picture for Hazeltine, while his next four wins came between the 2016 and 2018 qualification periods.

“It's hard to know how big it's going to be, but put aside all the expectations from outside the Team,” he said. “The Teams really want to win this and you can feel that and everybody around the Team. I try to take away all the expectations from outside and the crowds and everything.

“It's great that everybody here wants Europe to win but it's easier to go in the Team and within yourself and kind take it as a golf tournament and try to train that way and prepare that way.”

Fellow Swede Henrik Stenson is playing in his fifth Ryder Cup and he knows exactly the sort of pressure that comes from facing both home and away crowds.

The 2016 Open Championship winner has gone out in the first pair on Friday for the last two Ryder Cups and will be ready again should he be called upon to face over 6000 fans on the first tee.

“Gleneagles was a very, very cool experience,” he said. “And being on the first tee with Justin (Rose) and playing away on Friday morning in front of the crowd was something I will always remember. I'm sure we'll have similar experiences here for everyone on the Team. At this point, I can't wait to get going. 

“Given the size and the set-up we have here this week, which looks absolutely phenomenal, it's going to be something different, something special. So I expect everyone to feel a little bit of jelly in their legs walking down to the first tee. 

“It certainly never gets old. It's a great honour to be part of Team Europe once again. I've got some of my greatest memories and experiences throughout the years in my golfing career playing for Europe.

“Excited to be here and be part of the Team once again.”