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August 7, 2008

Robert Karlsson


KELLY ELBIN: Robert Karlsson, ladies and gentlemen joining us at the 90th PGA Championship at Oakland Hills Country Club. Robert shot a 2-under par 68 in the opening round. Robert, interesting start to the round and a lot that happened to get to a 68 by the end.
ROBERT KARLSSON: A little bit too interesting, I think. On the first hole there, just made a bit of stupidity and got a bad break. It bounced on the back edge of the green and hit a cart path and ended up over the back and that was not the place to be.

Q. Could you go through the double bogey and then birdies and bogeys?
ROBERT KARLSSON: The second hole, 6-iron, 2-putts from about 60 feet.
Third hole, 5-iron to four feet.
Fourth was a 3-wood and a wedge to 10, 12 feet.
6 was a 3-wood and a 9-iron to 15, 18 feet maybe.
8 was a driver and a 7-iron to a foot.
11 was a driver and a pitching wedge to 10 feet.
14, I hit a gap wedge over the back of the green, chip and 2-putted.
15, I hit it in the bunker in the middle of the fairway and to the next bunker and bogey.
KELLY ELBIN: Thank you very much. Open it up for questions, please.

Q. You were predicted to do well here. You've actually had quite a good summer. Is it accurate to say that the only bad nine holes you've had this summer was the first nine you played with Tiger at the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines?
ROBERT KARLSSON: They were definitely bad. We can agree on that, I think. But I would say those nine holes was a bit unlucky as well. I got a bad break on the third, I made a double bogey. But I played some bad golf as well. I used to try to forget the bad ones, so I don't remember many bad ones.
KELLY ELBIN: For the record Robert tied for 8th at the Masters, tied for fourth at the U.S. Open and tied for 7th at the Open Championship.

Q. How long was that par putt on 13 and what sort of -- I know you were laughing with your caddie and some of the other guys about that, the way that happened.
ROBERT KARLSSON: Yeah, I mean it was about 15 to 18 paces, something like that. And it was just hit too hard. It would have probably been eight feet past it. But it hit the back of the hole and jumped straight up and in.
I guess it was definitely lucky there but I guess I paid it back on the next two holes, so.

Q. Here in Detroit we're always interested in Swedish connections; are you a hockey fan and are you familiar with the Red Wings and how they have done?
ROBERT KARLSSON: Yeah. Definitely. I follow them definitely the teams here who have a lot of Swedish players on them and I definitely follow Detroit. So it's good fun to see them winning.

Q. How did you find scoring conditions today compared to the practice days?
ROBERT KARLSSON: The greens today are way firmer. Way firmer. So a lot more difficult today. I would think that there's not going to be many scores under par. Definitely not in the afternoon. The greens are a lot quicker as well.
But it's a tough golf course. So but it's set up perfect. It's just a tough test out there.

Q. What are the positives and negatives of being the tallest guy in professional golf? Or if there is another guy, I don't know who it is, I haven't noticed him.
ROBERT KARLSSON: Well, you get a lot of questions about being tall. I guess that's positive and negative.
(Laughter.) But apart from that, I guess I mean you got to have a pretty big arc so it's quite easy to generate power. But if things go wrong, a big arc can definitely go wrong. So it's like everything. If you use it well it's a positive and if you don't use it well it's not great at all.

Q. As a follow-up to my earlier question, with a bit of wind out there and quite a hot day, no sign of any rain, do you think it will be significantly harder, a shot or two harder this afternoon; would that be fair to say?
ROBERT KARLSSON: It depends a bit on the wind. It was quite windy when we finished. If the wind stays up, yeah, probably a shot. A shot or so wouldn't be far off. It's just a guess though, but most likely.

Q. Taking a quick look at your record, it looks like this is among -- this is probably the most consistent golf that you've played over a lengthy period of time. Is there a reason for that? And can you explain it?
ROBERT KARLSSON: Yeah, I mean it's things that I've been working on, on how I feel on the golf course, and they're starting to feel very comfortable. Comfortable in playing the big events and before I had a bit of a problem, I tried too hard playing the big events and I sort of pushed it too much. So I always made a lot of mistakes. But this year both the swing is better, but definitely feel a lot calmer, more and more sort of content with life in general, I would say.

Q. There's a big deal made about it's been 78 years since a European has won the PGA, but considering the final leaderboard at the British Open and how a lot of Europeans have played lately, would you agree that momentum is on the European side and why would you think that is?
ROBERT KARLSSON: I wouldn't say. I don't sort of separate the European side and the U.S. side. If you look at it in the bigger picture, you have obviously a Phil, Tiger, Jim Furyk, over the last ten years the three top players. So it would be weird if you wouldn't have won more Majors.
As Europeans, we have more guys sort of a bit more even on the Order of Merit if you look or on the World Rankings, sort of between 7 and 30, probably. But to win those big events you got to be the top, top player at the day and also have a lot of experience. So I guess it has shifted maybe a little bit. But with Padraig winning a couple, when he does it, it helps other players as well to see that it's possible.
KELLY ELBIN: For the record, this is Robert's 7th PGA Championship, his best finish was a tie for 29th in 2006.

Q. Just to follow-up to a previous question, you said you're more comfortable and more content with your life. What were you not content with before and how did that change?
ROBERT KARLSSON: I tried to force results, trying to make it happen instead of just going out and playing. Sort of tried too hard to play. I didn't play my golf, I tried to almost play somebody else's golf and I couldn't see how my golf was good enough to get around these kind of golf courses. Which was probably true in a way, but I didn't really sort of take a step backwards and play it with the shots I had. So I tried to play it too difficult and for a while I just saw big rough and I couldn't play.
Now obviously it's easier when the shots are better as well, but that can only come when I'm standing on the first tee not too afraid to go out there and meet a very tough golf course.

Q. It's been a lot made and said about all the things you've done to find a self discovery over the years. A lot of experimental things and interesting things. Why do you think you've been so open to those things and what's the most recent thing you've done?
ROBERT KARLSSON: Well, you got to have something to write about, don't you?
(Laughter.) It hasn't only been me. Some journalists are very good at digging.
No, but I mean, I would say over the last couple of years what's made the biggest difference is probably that I have stopped doing these sort of trying to look outside of myself to find different techniques and stuff and instead just sort of becoming more of Robert, more sort of calm inside myself, turned the sort of attention to me instead of sort of how can I become my best coach and -- I had a lot of help from Annchristine Lundstrom and she sort of instead of trying to give different techniques, you sort of come back to me all the time. It is okay, what can you do here, what, if you were only your own coach, how would you think, how would you support yourself, so I always look and sort of change it back, everything comes back to me all the time and that's the way it has become a lot better. Because now on the first tee I'm sort of my own boss a lot more than I've ever been.

Q. It's a course that's pretty tough to spot two strokes right off the bat; how do you get that behind you and then go on to birdie six of the next 10?
ROBERT KARLSSON: Well, try to remember that I actually can play golf, even though it didn't look like that on the first hole. And actually, my caddie said as well, that remember, we played with Tiger in the U.S. Open and I think he took six down the first hole every, pretty much every day. So you can shoot a good round from here as well. I was slightly upset, I must say, but I mean it helped obviously with that great, I hit a great 2-putt on No. 2. Putted from right in the front of the green and just up and over that little ridge and holed a 10-footer. If that wouldn't have went in, I probably would not have been sitting here now.

Q. Can you tell us when you moved to Monaco, is it easier to travel from there, is it a financial consideration better practice?

Q. All of the above?
ROBERT KARLSSON: Yes. Yes. All of the above.

Q. When was it that you did that?
ROBERT KARLSSON: All of the above.

Q. When?
ROBERT KARLSSON: When? Well, I moved. Actually I moved to England in 1993 and I moved from England to Monaco in 1996.
KELLY ELBIN: Robert Karlsson in with 2-under par 68 in the opening round of the PGA Championship. Thank you.

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