Pro could have played the Open. Instead, he’s playing the Barracuda.

Alex Noren hits his tee shot on Thursday on the 5th hole at Tahoe Mountain Club.

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Alex Noren, should there be golf karma, should win the Barracuda Championship. Or at the very least get a friendly bounce this week.

He is deserving of a break, because he didn’t get one at St. Andrews. To that end, we’ll describe Noren’s scenario, in chronological order.

— The 39-year-old Swede played last week’s Scottish Open and tied for a respectable 30th.

— He made his way over to this week’s Open Championship, where he was the first alternate to play. According to Jamie Weir of Sky Sports, he was in St. Andrews as late as Tuesday.

— There is also a PGA Tour alternate-field event this week, and that’s the Barracuda. (You may already know where this is heading.)

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— Believing that no one would withdraw from the Open, Noren left Scotland and hopped a plane for California. He even spoke to reporters on Wednesday.

“I know that it’s the Open week, but I don’t think anyone would withdraw this late, and I love this course,” Noren said. “I thought it was great last time I was here two years ago. I had this week planned, and it’s three weeks of training before the Playoffs, and I just wanted to get here and kind of follow that plan.”

All good points. It’s tough to think that anyone would not play the Open, which is, simultaneously, the year’s last major, being played at one of the world’s finest courses and celebrating its 150th birthday. And yes, the Tahoe Mountain Club is a fun track. And yes, this is FedEx Cup crunch time; the playoffs start next month, and Noren is 75th in the standings.

And yes, on Thursday morning in Scotland, Justin Rose withdrew with a back injury. Erik van Rooyen pulled out, too, with a neck injury. Rikuya Hoshino and Aaron Rai were in. Noren was not.

He was eight time zones away.

These things can happen. Should he have waited it out? Maybe. Maybe not.

But golf gods, if you’re listening, do your thing.

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Nick Piastowski

Nick Piastowski

Golf.com Editor

Nick Piastowski is a Senior Editor at Golf.com and Golf Magazine. In his role, he is responsible for editing, writing and developing stories across the golf space. And when he’s not writing about ways to hit the golf ball farther and straighter, the Milwaukee native is probably playing the game, hitting the ball left, right and short, and drinking a cold beer to wash away his score. You can reach out to him about any of these topics — his stories, his game or his beers — at nick.piastowski@golf.com.

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