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January 31, 2010

Robert Karlsson


SCOTT CROCKETT: Robert, many, many congratulations, as you said just there, it's nice to be back, and probably it is nice to be back in the winner's circle. Give us your thoughts on what a fantastic performance today and a fantastic victory.
ROBERT KARLSSON: Yeah, it's a bit hard to say. When I came out here, both Lee and the other guys started really, really well. So all of a sudden I found myself three or four shots back, and I just sort of kept playing well and made a few birdies but I thought I was way behind.
Obviously people started to come to our group, so I wondered what was going on. There's so many good players out there, so it was just to keep going. So I don't think I've understood it yet, but I've won it and how easy it was actually in the end.
SCOTT CROCKETT: After all you went through last season sitting out, it must be very, very sweet having that trophy sitting next to you.
ROBERT KARLSSON: Yeah, especially here, I've had a couple close calls here, I've been here a couple of times and love this golf course and it's fantastic to be back and finally win it here.
SCOTT CROCKETT: You were so steady auto out there, your game was in perfect shape, anything in particular pleased you about your form today?
ROBERT KARLSSON: Yeah, to get it up-and-down on 12. That was the most important shot, to get it up-and-down there out of the left, because Lee was coming back and got in a little bit better mood, and all of a sudden just started to hole putts from everywhere. You know when he starts to do that, birdie every hole so it was important not to give away a shot and to keep the pressure on.

Q. It was the first 65 of the week, so fitting that you should come so strongly on the last day with that kind of score?
ROBERT KARLSSON: Yeah, if you go out and shoot 65 in the last day, in a tournament, being a couple behind, usually have a good chance. Obviously today was my day.

Q. You were saying on the radio and on TV that even though you've had a lot of time off, you're more disappointed to come back and play poorly.
ROBERT KARLSSON: Yeah, it was definitely tougher, because I was hoping I had not lost that much, but I mean, being out for such a long time, the form was harder when I actually started playing. It was hard to not get down on myself, and when I was off, I didn't really know where I was. When I started playing, I played poorly and then it felt like it was even further away than I was when I actually had time off.
So definitely felt tough in the November time frame.

Q. Looking now to playing in the WGCs and majors, and particularly with The Ryder Cup on the horizon now --
ROBERT KARLSSON: Yeah, it's just very important to get into the sort of Ryder Cup stuff. But it's nine months away, so take it easy now.
But it was very, very pleasing to start playing well. I would have been very, very happy coming out of this tournament with a top 20. That was pretty much what I looked at early in the week. If I can just put a few solid rounds together, I'll be very, very happy. The first three rounds, I made a few stupid mistakes, gave away a few easy shots.
But I felt like things were coming, so I was very happy with where I was standing today. With the way the scoreboard looked, it's a top-class field and top-class players up there, so I knew I had to do something special.

Q. Was concentration a big factor today, bearing in mind that Lee was displaying the emotions that go with a roller coaster round?
ROBERT KARLSSON: Yeah, it is. In the last few groups, there's always good players and always good players playing well in there.
So obviously it comes down to who can keep it together and who can do the least mistakes and take the birdie chances when they come, and I managed to do that today and not get sort of too worried about what was happening around me and just kept playing.
So obviously, I mean, everybody can hit great golf shots but if you don't keep it together and if you give away easy shots here and there, all of a sudden it can slip very quickly.

Q. You mentioned the fact that Lee was in a better mood having made those four birdies from the turn, so that suggests that he was in a pretty bad mood --
ROBERT KARLSSON: No, he lost it a bit around the turn with a couple of bad drives. But I mean, you know, the player of his calibre when he comes back, he's a dangerous man to have behind you.

Q. You talked about being down on yourself when you came back, what was the turning point for you there?
ROBERT KARLSSON: Probably actually Hong Kong when I missed the cut by a shot. Actually Hong Kong was the first one I played. I felt I played pretty good, so Hong Kong showed some signs, and going to Japan, playing really well was very important.
And then to keep building on that, as well, in the World Cup with Henrik was great. It's not great to get into the World Cup not having played great since May. So it was great to come in to have a tournament in Japan, and the World Cup, steadily moved on from there.

Q. Playing against --
ROBERT KARLSSON: Yeah, every tournament you win is different in one way or another. But definitely to do it around here, this is a very, very strong golf course, set up very, very difficult. So it was fantastic to go and shoot a 65 in the circumstances today. I'm very, very happy with it.

Q. Did you see what happened on the way to the golf course with Oliver?
ROBERT KARLSSON: I just came up to the roundabout and I saw one of the courtesy cars had crashed into another. I just stopped -- he wasn't still out of the car, so we just stopped and the courtesy car driver said what's going on there, and he just came out of the car, and just said, "Get in, let's go."

Q. Was he shaken up at all?
ROBERT KARLSSON: He had a bit of pain from the seatbelt over the chest. Apart from that, yeah, a bit shaken up I would say.

Q. Do you ever look back on your European Order of Merit title in 2008 and thinking, wish that could have been 2009?
ROBERT KARLSSON: No. I would have taken it in any year, don't worry about that.
But I look back on it a little bit this week, actually, when I look back on what Lee did last year, how good I thought he played last year, and I just remind myself, I actually did the same thing the year before. So that's -- I mean, every time you see someone win an Order of Merit, it is fantastic. He's had the best season of the year.
It's good to remind yourself that you're one of the guys that have done that, as well. It's always good to have that in the back pocket. But you can't -- you can't dwell on that it was less money than The Race to Dubai. That's not the way it works, this game. You're very, very happy every golf tournament you win or every time you're up on the leaderboard, that's what you strive for and try to get more used to the situation.
That's why I play golf. It's not about the money.

Q. Watching Lee win last year, and not being able to defend yourself, does that give you more determination this season?
ROBERT KARLSSON: I think I have enough determination. I think it's probably something I have to -- I never have to improve on that. It's probably almost something I have to hold back sometimes, because it can get a bit too much sometimes. So that's not really a thing.
But it's more, I mean, as I said, it was very -- the focus this year was to come back and play, start to put together good rounds and a string of good rounds, and you never know what's going to happen. I mean, that's still -- I mean, that's the thing I'm most happy about this year. It not really the win. It's fantastic to win. But to play four really, really good rounds together, that's the most satisfying thing.

Q. Does it surprise you a little bit?
ROBERT KARLSSON: Yeah, it does in a way. Especially the way I played today, the way I managed to finish off the last few holes, the last five or six, so it was great.

Q. Hey, Robert, congratulations this afternoon last year you spent an hour after playing in the afternoon with the juniors, and you were a fantastic teacher for the kids, and it's really nice to see you win again. I said this to Adam Scott and I say this to every winner, if you don't teach the children, you just don't win the Qatar Masters?
ROBERT KARLSSON: That's a good omen. Another good omen sitting right there. (Laughter) I played with Chris in the Pro-Am and I said, well, I've played with two winners before and it's your turn this week. I walked down the last few holes, and I thought, I'd better not give this away, because Chris will be really pissed off.

Q. It's nice for you to take time out with the kids and you were so enthusiastic, it's fantastic?
ROBERT KARLSSON: Thanks very much. But at the end of the day, if we don't give anything back to juniors and new players, especially in countries like this where the game is growing, we are not going to have a golf tournament in ten or 15 years' time.

Q. So we think there could be 120 pros teaching the kids next year.
SCOTT CROCKETT: Thank you very much.

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