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September 30, 2009

Robert Karlsson


MICHAEL GIBBONS: Robert, many thanks for joining us. Give us your thoughts going into the weekend, how it feels to be back after last week.
ROBERT KARLSSON: Yeah, it's great to be back, it's good to have done the first one after such a long layoff, so looking forward to this week.
MICHAEL GIBBONS: The memories of last year still fresh for you?
ROBERT KARLSSON: A long time ago. But yeah, in a way. Especially the last day last year was quite special.
MICHAEL GIBBONS: It was a big win for you in terms of Order of Merit at the time, wasn't it.
ROBERT KARLSSON: Yeah, I wasn't aware of it, but I didn't need to play anything more to win the Order of Merit last year. The money I got up here was enough at the end but those are things you don't know and it's very important to keep going. Actually at the time I won here, I got the questions obviously about the Order of Merit and things, and it was such a big thing, and I didn't really take it in until it was actually over, which was actually good.

Q. You come back last week, is your game coming back to what it was? It?
ROBERT KARLSSON: I mean, it was difficult, even if I practised a couple of weeks, I played between European Open and the week of Switzerland, I played a total of 36 holes two, nine-holers, and a Pro-Am. And I didn't play any golf whatsoever.
Things went pretty good, and there's a lot of players around, and I mean to, get back into tournament mode was quite difficult, but it got better by the day, and at the end of the week, I was quite pleased. Obviously not with the result, but you have to start somewhere and get something to build from. So in a way it was a very good way to start.

Q. Conditions was -- to try and stop this thing from coming back?
ROBERT KARLSSON: But I mean on the -- doctors, that type of stuff so, no, I haven't done a thing. Seen the doctor, and monitoring a bit and so for me it wasn't, I didn't feel stressed, life became very, very different, and those first 12 years on Tour, suddenly everything took a lot longer time and I didn't have as many time on my own.

Q. Winning is stressful.
ROBERT KARLSSON: It is in a way. And I mean, obviously it's a lot bigger demands from press and from people around, and so if it starts to come back a little bit, now I've got to keep an eye on it. And see how things happen, if it starts to come back, I'm going to maybe have to look at it then, because I did actually enjoy last year very much. So it's nothing I would like to avoid.

Q. Did you find it stressful when you couldn't play and wondering what on earth to do with yourself?
ROBERT KARLSSON: The first couple of weeks were quite difficult. The first few weeks I really wanted to come back quickly and also looking at how many weeks this is, can I play. French Open, French Open would be fine, play and have a week off and Scottish and British Open, that would be fine, because I had sort of short-term goals. And then it was like, I wanted to push it a bit.
But I couldn't play British Open and when I actually -- even after five or six weeks, I didn't see any difference whatsoever in my vision. I looked on the lamp post and it was still as crooked as it was four weeks ago and I said well, this thing has to take its time. And then it changed a lot and started to do other things with my time. Actually enjoyed it a lot. But for the first two or three weeks, it was a bit sort of, I want to come backs, I want to come back.

Q. What was your very lowest moment during that period, lowest day or lowest hour?
ROBERT KARLSSON: It wasn't many actually. It was a little bit, it was probably when I realised, it was before I knew what it was. I would say probably last day of European Open or things like that when I felt so -- I finished 16th in the event but I've missed four putts or five putts that were under four feet, so the hole was just in the wrong place. When I looked up, I can't do this. And I looked down at the ball, chipping the ball, is it sitting up, lying down; that was very difficult.
When I got the diagnosis, he said it's nothing dangerous but it can take a bit of time, at least that was a bit of a relief and sort of got something different. And definitely when I couldn't play the British Open, it was like, okay, well, this is it.

Q. A multiple winner on The European Tour, a mainstay of The Ryder Cup Team the last few years, at many moment in time is there a fear that you may not be able to get backup to those same heights?
ROBERT KARLSSON: Yeah, who knows? I haven't got a clue, starting a little bit from the beginning again, or at least take a little bit of steps and build it from here. Even when over the summer when I didn't really know, obviously the thought came to me. It's like maybe I have played my last event, who knows. And when I look back in my career, when those sort of thoughts came, it was like, well, if it has, okay, it's not the end of the world. I've played 19 years on Tour, I won nine times, I've had a great career anyway, maybe it stopped a bit earlier than I was hoping for, and so in a way it was probably good to go through those sort of thoughts, as well, because I mean sooner or later you're going to come to a day where that is going to be the case.
But I mean it is starting from the beginning again in a way but it's not that bad. Mainly it's a couple of step backwards and build it up again. But I'm looking forward to play now and that's the most upon thing.

Q. You pretty well answered my question, as well. Is there a danger, I was going to say, of trying to rush things, to try and get back to your old standard? I noticed last week that you were more aggressive with your putting for a start and it cost you a few lipouts.
ROBERT KARLSSON: Yeah, I didn't really have the pace of the putter quite well but it didn't go in. It is what it is. I just have to go from here and I mean, who knows.

Q. Have you set yourself a target, for instance, of when you will get back to the same standard as when you won the Order of Merit?
ROBERT KARLSSON: No, a short-term goal would be to get into the Dubai at the end. I don't really know where I am now. I need to have a couple of good weeks. As I said, it's more important to start enjoying it and start to build on where I am right now and make sure I don't bring this on again so, it's a bit of a balance.
But at the moment, I'm trying obviously to do as much as I can, and then I will see the doctor again in November and see what he says.

Q. Are there any technical changes you've needed to make?

Q. Have you seen a psychologist in all of this who is telling you how to approach your return or not?
ROBERT KARLSSON: No, I haven't. I'm working with Annchristine as I've done before, as I've done before, and it's a lot more about -- I've been through the psychologist route before and I sort of know what they are going to say pretty much and I know it's about not putting too much pressure on myself when I start which is easier said than done. It's a balance obviously between going out and doing too much and going out and just having fun. It will be a balance, and it's up to me to find it. There's no psychologist that can tell me how I can do it. It's up to me.

Q. Initially when you started seeing holes in different places, did you think it could be you or definitely a physical problem?
ROBERT KARLSSON: No, something was definitely going on at the PGA and The European Open. When I really noticed it was just the vision was funny, but when I closed one eye, it was a totally different light in my left side than my right and I almost tweaked it and completely wrong, and the rest it history.

Q. First day you noticed it was at The European Open?
ROBERT KARLSSON: It was in the locker room at the European open because it quite dark underneath the building. This is completely wrong here. So that's when it became very clear that there's a big difference between the two eyes.
MICHAEL GIBBONS: Robert, wish you all the best for this week. Thank you for coming in.

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