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October 5, 2008

Robert Karlsson


SCOTT CROCKETT: Robert, thanks as always for joining us, and many congratulations. Your thoughts on being the Alfred Dunhill Links Champion?
ROBERT KARLSSON: I don't know, I haven't really understood it yet. It was sort of a bit of a funny week, coming from four shots behind, where I was today, and so many guys up there. I think I started about an hour ahead of the last group, so it's a bit of a funny situation.
I just went out there and tried to do my best and got off to a good start and played really well at the beginning. So all of a sudden, I was up there on the leaderboard, and just tried to keep it going.
SCOTT CROCKETT: No wins, and then two wins come along; a strange old game, isn't it?
ROBERT KARLSSON: Yes, but probably the most important thing is I've learned a lot from mistakes. I had a couple chances to win earlier in the season, and now it seems like I don't feel like I need to play well and I win again.
SCOTT CROCKETT: You played the playoff hole in exemplary fashion. Tell us about that.
ROBERT KARLSSON: Yeah, I had a pretty good feeling for it. The good thing was when it was slightly downwind, I knew it was going to get into my sort of -- around 100-yard area and I got a perfect distance.

Q. At any point did you get frustrated with three successive third-place finishes?
ROBERT KARLSSON: Both yes and no. The third in Ireland was great. The third in Italy was grand. Both of those I really didn't have a good chance of winning. Celtic Manor, obviously had a good chance winning there, yes, but I was quite a few shots behind. But the PGA was obviously quite painful. But as long as you can learn from those experiences, you grow to be a stronger player and all of a sudden now it all seems to be the opposite.

Q. I think you said on television that the win in Germany you felt was perhaps bigger, but given this was the Old Course and the home of golf, on reflection, does that maybe make it bigger in a sense?
ROBERT KARLSSON: Yeah, I was very emotional sitting on the steps there for the prize-giving and feeling like this is bigger, sort of ten minutes after.
I remember the first time I was here was 1990, after missing the qualifying for the 1990 British Open, and the fairway was sort of like it is now with the shadows over the fairway and it sort of like, I would like to play here. I didn't that year, but I played a couple of times and struggled my way around this golf course many, many times. And now it's become a sort of course where you learn to fall in love with because it's so different; and the more you play it, you understand the subtleties of the course.
And even though the course, the pins were not quite in friendly positions, but it's up there to bite you every time. And the more I play here, the more I like it.

Q. At Valderrama, the last of the Volvo Masters, how do you see that going, perhaps head-to-head with Padraig?
ROBERT KARLSSON: Well, first of all going to go and drink some champagne tonight.
I'm going to play one more tournament before that, and he's not, so if I do my job well, maybe I can build a little bit of a cushion. But it's not that important. I have exceeded my expectations on the season so far.
So right now, I'm just happy to be here and play. I've made The Ryder Cup Team. I've had I don't know how many Top-10s, a bunch of top threes, two wins. Now what more can I expect? I'm just out here playing and having fun. And then we'll see what happens.

Q. Can you put into words or pick out one thing from what you learned from not winning earlier in the season and what you did it about it?
ROBERT KARLSSON: Definitely the three-putt on the last green at Wentworth. I picked the line and I tried too hard. I tried to hit it in too hard. I got caught up in racing a little bit ahead of myself if I holed it or if I was not going to hole it what was going to happen.
Now I'm just focusing on sort of small, simple things and keep them in balance over the putter and not worrying too much about the result and just pick my line and roll the putter over that line. I got very tense over that putter at Wentworth, but I didn't on the 18th green in the four-ball with Henrik when I had that downhill putt against Kim and Mickelson in the Ryder Cup. I said, if I can hole that one, I can hole this one here.
I can just see the difference, what I learned from that missed putt on Wentworth to how I can handle it in Ryder Cup. So I can see that I've learned a lot how I did it and probably put things into more perspective into things, into the bigger perspective of things.
When I was there, I didn't -- I just took a different sort of point of view over the putt. And if I miss it, I miss it and if it goes in, it goes in. I can only pick my line and roll on that one.

Q. Interesting decision the way you played 17, to play the approach towards the 18th tee. Can you tell us what the thinking was?
ROBERT KARLSSON: Well, if you hit it -- if you're in the left rough, that's the only way to play it.
I played here in the Dunhill Cup in 1992 I think with Anders Forsbrand, and playing in the practise rounds, he's played here so many times, and that's the only way to play is to that back pin. If you go to the front right, you'll leave your putt where you can't go to -- you can't get closer than 30, 40 feet. I've been around there, and if you get a bad bounce, you might be in that trap to the left and that's not the place to be.
I always look to the back pin and that's the way to play it. If it you're not in the fairway, you're going to make from there probably 4.25, or three out of four, and you won't make any sixes there, so that's the most important thing there.
I knew I was up, but I didn't know what Ross had done. So I just focused on making my par and making a birdie at last of the of. From the lie I had there was no chance to go to the green, maybe front right, but it was as bad as being back where I was.

Q. Do you feel this month is the best streak you've ever had, and is that because you are playing sort of relaxed?
ROBERT KARLSSON: It's not the best I played. The best I played was in May. I played better in May. But now all of a sudden things are sort of happening a bit easier it seems, because plays-wise I was hitting the ball better then.
Ireland and PGA was good and probably U.S. Open was the best. But golf is so much more than actually hitting the golf ball. Especially around these course, as well, it's so much of a strategy around these golf courses. You don't need to necessarily hit the best golf shots but you do need to use the areas where you have them and to hit the really good shots when you decide to take it on.
So around these courses it's a different type of game than it is around, for example, a windy Adare Manor or Wentworth like we played. So it's a different type of golf.

Q. Even if you win the Order of Merit, do you still think Harrington is the Player of the Year, considering what he's done this year?
ROBERT KARLSSON: I might reconsider that.
No, he's won two majors and it's hard to top that. Only better thing you could do is win three majors. He is probably better on the bigger picture.
But winning the Order of Merit, if it would come to that, I can only compete against myself and I can only -- I can never -- I mean, the goal is not to beat Harrington. The goal is to play my best golf. And then if Harrington is better, then congratulations to him. But I can't play against them. I've played all my golf and that's enough to worry about. If you win.

Q. If you win in Portugal you might have it clinched before you get to Valderrama.

Q. Would that change your perspective at all?
ROBERT KARLSSON: No. Next week, it's a new event in Portugal, so see what happens there.
SCOTT CROCKETT: Robert, many congratulations on your win this week.

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