In this week’s Player Blog presented by Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Alex Noren discusses being back at the DP World Tour Championship, how he is fine tuning his practice, his future goals, and why the Scandinavian Mixed is an important event for world golf.
It is great to be back at the DP World Tour Championship for the first time since 2018. The event is great. There’s just a very good energy when you come here.
I want to play on both the DP World Tour and PGA TOUR more often. The better I play in America, the more I can play here.
Even before the DP World Tour Championship first started as an event in 2009, when it replaced the Volvo Masters, it was a big championship. It’s not like it went from being a small event to a big event. I like that it is at the same place every year.
My form has been steady since when I played at the Genesis Scottish Open. I finished second at the Barracuda Championship the following week and have then finished around 30th or 40th without having the whole game in order. I was better last week in Houston so I am just trying to put in more time on each area of my game. The whole game is getting steadier. I am just trying to put the whole puzzle together, which is not always easy. When you see the best players in the world, you look at them and what they do and try to do the same sort of thing. It’s not just trying to get the results but trying to figure out what actually gets the results.
I like to practice at my game and I still do that a lot. These days I probably know more what I need to do. But I still need to put in a lot of practice on those areas. I find in America that it is almost easier to practice more because there are less people on the course and you can put in more work within a shorter time span. So I still put in the same amount of time, but maybe with a clearer picture than I had earlier in my career. Before I would just hit balls on the range in an unorganised practice whereas now it is with a bit more thought.
I was speaking recently with my coach and he told me statistically my game has evened out. But that isn’t always exactly what you want when you want to win tournaments. Between 2016 to 2018 my putting was probably better than it is now. I’m trying to get that up to speed. With success it’s easier to get more success and you relax a little. So there are a few processes that happen when you play well, but overall the main thing that helped me during that period was that my putting was very good. If Rory loses his driving a little bit, it’s going to affect his game. My strong point was putting so when I lose that it is a little tougher for me to get results.
Winning the BMW PGA Championship in 2017 was great for me. I always thought the course a tough test, you have got to play well to win there. It was a bonus that it was the first Rolex Series event.
The more I'm away from Europe and Sweden, the more I want to get back to the Ryder Cup. I love living in America but I do miss being in Sweden more and obviously being in Europe. I wouldn’t say it is lonely in America but it’s definitely as competitive as it gets. It’s structured in every aspect. People have more coaches around them. We don’t stay in the same locations and it’s a different day-to-day life. I miss the camaraderie or the feeling of a Ryder Cup year.
I have a mixture of memories from being part of the Ryder Cup in 2018. From trying to get into the team where there is a lot of pressure from yourself and from others maybe. When the week starts the pressure is on and you are still trying to ease into the Ryder Cup. Then when you play it is just a pure joy to play it. It is definitely one of the best moments in my career to play and to win on that team. It’s an experience that is hard to do on an individual basis.
I am really trying to bump up my game-over the next ten to 15 years to see what I can accomplish. Something that amazed me when I played on the Ryder Cup was the numbers of people in the backroom teams that the captain assembles. The Vice Captains bring a great amount of expertise and experience and I was amazed at just how much effort those guys put in last time.
I am excited by the prospect of potentially representing the Continental Europe team at the Hero Cup in Abu Dhabi in January.
I am trying to look at what the top players are doing and find out statistically where I am. I have had a hard time looking at statistics as I used to turn a blind eye to it and just go with the flow more. But I have realised that is not the way to go for me, so I have begun to increase the number of days I spend with coaches.
The Covid-19 pandemic was tough for me, living in America and having European coaches. It made me take a little shift in my career, because I tried to do a lot on my own. I didn’t really know what was working or what was not working. I could FaceTime my coaches or see them once in a while, but it was not enough to get the continuous improvement. I have also tried to get my coaches to put some pressure on me to improve and not just choose myself what to do on a daily basis.
When I grew up there used to be a couple of events in Sweden on the Challenge Tour that I would go to watch. We didn’t really care too much about who came to play, we just knew they were good players and were excited to see them compete. It’s hugely important for the Swedish Golf Federation that we have a tournament on the DP World Tour. I thought it was beautiful that Sweden took the approach of doing a mixed event. It was amazing to see how good the women were and I don’t think many people were complaining about the course set-up. I know next year’s venue Ullna Golf & Country Club well so I think it’s going to be a great tournament.
I started to play golf as a junior at Haninge Golf Club. It used to host a Ladies European Tour event when I grew up, so it was huge for us juniors. That was a big step for our club. I have got photos of the year that Annika Sorenstam won at Haninge in 1996. She finished third a few years earlier as an amateur and there was a newspaper article which said, ‘look out for this girl’. It is amazing to look back and think I watched her back then It’s great for golf in Sweden but also for golf worldwide to see a mixed event. I now hope the tournament really focuses on how it can become as big a tournament as possible, not just relying on it being a mixed event.