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May 16, 2018

Robert Karlsson

Schilde, Belgium

Q. Give us your memories of first coming here?
ROBERT KARLSSON: I would call myself defending Belgian champion, that's good. I've always liked Belgium. Before we played a golf course, Royal Zoute, that was fantastic. One of my favorite stops and many of the players' favourite stops. Now we're in a new place and it's great that Belgium is back on the map and the tournament schedule, so it's great. Obviously they have fantastic players, as well. It's great it's coming back and we are you will excited to be here.

Q. How important is it to return here, and the influence Pieters and Colsaerts have had of getting it back here?
ROBERT KARLSSON: Yeah, I think if you don't have any top players, it's really, really hard to host an event and now over a number of years, they have had top, top players. It's obviously great to be here, and we are The European Tour, so we really want to have tournaments on the European mainland. It's great to be here.

Q. You've hosted an event. How tough is it?
ROBERT KARLSSON: It's tough. It's very tough. You've just got to have the support, both the local support, and the bigger the size, you need the Federation of the country to be behind it. It's easy when you have great players like Colsaerts and Pieters and Detry and more coming. It makes it easier, and interest obviously goes up when we have good players from the country we play in.

Q. How important is it for the success of players in your country to breed success?
ROBERT KARLSSON: At the end of the day, if you're going to be really tough on the whole situation, we need to have top players in the country otherwise the clubs in the long run are going to struggle. We see very clearly in Sweden now when Henrik has played really well and put us on the golf map, and it creates more golf on the golf courses in Sweden.

So in the long run, it's very, very important to have the top events but we also need to have Challenge Tour events and some sort of local tour, because that's how you keep feeding new Henriks on the golf course in Sweden and Thomas Pieters and whatever country you're in. That's why it's so important with these events.

Q. How important is The Ryder Cup factor getting events back into the country?
ROBERT KARLSSON: Obviously Ryder Cup is kind of the pinnacle of European golf, as a thing we all join and stand behind. These events are all kind of leading up to that. It's a big chain and if you miss one link, it's hard to keep going, and that's just the way it is.

Q. How excited are you about September, vice captain?
ROBERT KARLSSON: Very. Very, very. It's starting to really get closer and talk quite a bit to Thomas. We had a day yesterday together in Paris and obviously with the others, playing and talking with others about what's going to happen in the future and what we are seeing right now and how the teams are shaping up on both sides.

It's very, very early, and now with tournaments coming up from Wentworth and onwards, counting 1 1/2 times the points, so a lot of things can happen, but you still start to get some sort of idea, some sort of backbone of the team. It's good.

Q. The nucleus of the team is looking strong, isn't it?
ROBERT KARLSSON: It is. It is. On both sides.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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