Noren proves Match Play credentials
Alex Noren underlined his Ryder Cup credentials last week after the Swede claimed the best World Golf Championship finish of his career at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, making up for the disappointment of narrowly missing out on the final to beat Justin Thomas in the consolation match.
That handed the 35 year old third place outright to move within one place of the automatic qualification spots, while his stellar performance in the very format in which The Ryder Cup is played will surely have given European Captain Thomas Bjørn food for thought ahead of September’s showpiece.
Not only did Noren prove he can handle the pressure of match play on the biggest of stages – having claimed a top five at the same event last year – he also showed he has the game to take on the USA’s finest in front of their own home crowds.
The nine-time European Tour winner beat none other than Patrick Reed – fast becoming, if not already, an American Ryder Cup legend – in the first knock-out round, before overcoming the World Number Two, and leader of the USA’s Ryder Cup points list, 24 year old Thomas.
With the European crowds behind him, there is no telling the heights that Noren could reach on a Ryder Cup debut, if he were to play his way into the reckoning for Bjørn’s team.
While Noren moved just behind Sergio Garcia in the Ryder Cup World Points List, there were no movements within the projected top eight automatic qualifiers for the European team following the results of WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play.
As expected though, Bubba Watson’s win - his second victory in four weeks – has gone a long way to securing his place in Jim Furyk’s team for Paris in September.