Noren is Monty's unlikely Ryder Cup pace-setter

Sam Torrance
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FINALLY, Colin Montgomerie can start putting his 2010 Ryder Cup plans into place. The European Masters in Switzerland at the weekend signalled the start of the qualifying for the event at Celtic Manor next summer, and already Monty has plenty to ponder.<br /><br />Relative unknown Swede Alexander Noren is the first to emerge following his fine two-shot victory at Crans-sur-Sierre and that win alone may yet be enough to establish him as a major contender. <br /><br />Noren&rsquo;s chip in from a bunker for eagle at 15 proved too good for Welshman Bradley Dredge, who also enjoyed a great week.<br /><br />Monty has claimed he already knows all 12 of his picks and one of those simply must be young Rory McIlroy. Rory&rsquo;s final round 64 not only proved what an awesome talent he is, but also helped close the gap on leading duo Martin Kaymer and Paul Casey in the Race to Dubai.<br /><br />McIlroy was asked his views on the Ryder Cup this week with his response being that he didn&rsquo;t care who won it given the individual nature of golf and his personal goals.<br /><br />In a way he&rsquo;s right, but the Ryder Cup is the greatest golf tournament of them all and I&rsquo;m sure that once Rory joins up with Monty and his team-mates and experiences the euphoria that goes with the event, he will have a different mindset.<br /><br /><strong>SEASON&rsquo;S GOAL</strong><br />Personally, I&rsquo;m surprised to hear Monty wasn&rsquo;t in Switzerland to see Noren stake his early claim, but you can be sure he&rsquo;ll be stalking the circuit these next few months taking a look at the form of his players.<br /><br />As for me, I was delighted with a fifth-place finish in the Travis Perkins Senior Masters at Woburn, which, officially, took me to the top of the Order of Merit.<br /><br />I played well throughout, although my second round 74 meant I had to score low to stay in with a chance. In the end, a 69 ensured I overtook Ian Woosnam in search of my season&rsquo;s goal. Next up is the Casa Serena Open and with big money to play for, this is an important tournament for me. <br /><br />If I could win it, it would go a long way to securing the Order of Merit with just two more events to play.