There was something that Alex Noren said in the moments after winning the British Masters at The Grove on Sunday – the Swede’s third win from his last eight events – that I particularly liked.
He spoke about not trying to achieve perfection but just playing golf, and I think that is a good attitude to have. At 34, he’s having the most successful spell of his career, so it seems to be working.
Sometimes very talented players can become weighed down by striving for perfection. Golf is more about freeing yourself up and working out how to do that. Noren has certainly done that.
What a year he is having. As recently as May he was outside the world’s top 100; following his purple patch he is up to a career-high ranking of 18 and is fourth in the Race To Dubai.
Noren enjoyed a little luck at the 12th hole when he needed it, having dropped shots at eight and 11 as Bernd Wiesberger applied the pressure during the final round.
But he recovered from a very poor tee shot and was faultless after that as he sewed up a two-shot win.
It was on Saturday that I think he made the decisive move, grabbing control after holing a crucial par putt at the 16th.
If he had missed it he would have been level with Richard Bland; instead he finished the day three shots clear after sinking two more birdies at 17 and 18.
A quick finish like that is a great thing to have in your armoury as there is nothing that anyone can do to respond.
Noren's technical advantage
What I also like about Noren is that his swing repeats. He cuts the ball beautifully, very rarely drawing the ball, and clearly works on that left-to-right shot.
It reminds me of something my father used to say – that you mustn’t weaken your strength in order to strengthen a weakness.
Noren’s technique gives him an advantage. Instead of aiming straight down a fairway and having a 10-yard margin of error either side, when you know you are going to slice or fade your shot, you’ve got more fairway to aim at because you can aim at one side, knowing the ball will come in.
Westwood bounces back
Lee Westwood was third – three behind Noren and one adrift of runner-up Wiesberger – and it was a good result after a very disappointing couple of events at the Ryder Cup and Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.
Westwood was never quite close enough to Noren and I’m not surer where it went wrong but, given he is taking over hosting duties of this tournament next year, it was a great performance in that context.