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May 22, 2010

Robert Karlsson


PAUL SYMES: Robert, it's been a whirlwind 24 hours, when you walked off the course yesterday, you thought you were out of the tournament, and now you're sitting here as a joint leader after a lot of standing around on the West Course. How do you sum up your emotion?
ROBERT KARLSSON: I don't know, really. I mean, obviously yesterday after the finish, I was on my way home, and I it actually got home, as well, almost. To just have a chance to come back and it was actually quite funny, Søren Hansen said this morning at the breakfast, "This trip has a 63 written all over it," and I thought, okay. And I said, "Well, could have been, could have been 83, but we'll see."
But I mean, when you get a chance like this, and I got off to a great start. It was just important for me. I got an extra chance in this round and I didn't want to sort of back off and try to protect 3- or 4-under. It was worth it to just keep going, and then at the end of the day, if you drop a few on the way in, at least feels better if you give yourself a chance, and I did.
PAUL SYMES: So is the tactic now to fly back home after the second round?
ROBERT KARLSSON: I think it would be a bit messy.
PAUL SYMES: Expensive, as well.
ROBERT KARLSSON: It's quite a cheap ticket that, at least that way.
PAUL SYMES: How much sleep did you have?
ROBERT KARLSSON: Two hours, plus one hour on the flight, or whatever it takes from Paris to here.
PAUL SYMES: 30 on the front nine; was 59 ever in your thoughts or was the back nine a bit too hard?
ROBERT KARLSSON: It was okay, played the other nine. Just keep playing. I mean, the back nine, the way they have it set up right now, with 12 not being a par 5 anymore, and the two last par 5s not being so easy, it's a completely different back nine to what we are used to. And I just -- I mean, Garrett said to me on the 9th tee -- I've been having problems; I hit it in the last trap twice. Today the wind a bit down. He said, "so it's either 5-iron short, 6-iron in or driver past it."
I said, "Yeah, I like driver better. Yeah, we are here to party. We have an extra chance to get a party and let's party." Hit driver, hit it really good. I missed my 9-iron, but it was sort of a positive move, and it felt good to do those sort of things.

Q. Can you take us through yesterday, your timetable, when you left, when you arrived back and when you came back here?
ROBERT KARLSSON: It will take a while. I mean, I left here probably, the flight was at 3.15. I probably left here 1.30 to the hotel. We actually, to begin with, we drove all the way here from Monaco because of the ashes. We were a bit afraid of not getting here because of the cancelled flights.
So I had my car up here which made it a little bit easier because I could leave all my luggage with my caddie who was going to drive down to Monaco next week. So I just packed everything into the suitcase and took off to the airport, I would say 2.15, checked in, 3.15 the flight was going to take off, but it was 45 minutes delayed so we took off about 4.00.
Landed in Monaco, one hour extra, so yeah, about 7.00. And decided to -- by then, I thought I was convinced I missed the cut. And I turned on my mobile telephone to tell my wife, yeah, I left the airport and I'm on my way back now. And I heard this message that "you're 66th at the moment, you'd better have a change, turn around."
But I was not up for that, at all. So I mean, I wasn't sure, it was still quite a bit of play to go here, so I turned around in the taxi five metres short of home because then it was definitely I made it, and, okay, what are the options now. I just missed the flight I came in with, the last British Airways flight was cancelled that was going to go at nine o'clock, and there was one flight to Charles de Gaulle, that was full, and there was one flight to Orly which left at nine o'clock, which was going to take me there and land me there at 10.15 something like that.
By then, I didn't have a clue it was going to go, how I was going to get here from Orly by the time I teed off today, because if it was going to be an 8.20 tee-off time, I would have no chance. I landed in Orly and got a private flight taking off today at six o'clock from another airport there. So at midnight, I go to the Hilton Hotel outside Orly and probably turned the light off at one o'clock, at alarm clock was on 4.00. I wasn't sleeping very well last night. (Laughing).
So four o'clock in the taxi for 4.30. It's going to take me to the other airport to be there for 5.30. And he didn't speak one word of English and my French is not up to standard. He was so tired, he was always falling asleep all the same, so I felt I had to talk to him to keep him awake.
And then I was in the middle of nowhere, and we knew the private terminal was going to be somewhere else from where the main terminal is where the airport, and I didn't have a clue where we were going and he didn't have a clue where we were going, and we called them and they picked me up from sort of the other way, and I got there quarter to six. And in the flight, took off at six. We were going to land here at six but obviously Heathrow is not so easy so we land at 6.20 but quick out, and I was here for 6.45. There wasn't much sleep.

Q. What was the other airport in Paris?
ROBERT KARLSSON: Something with Le Bourget. It's a very little one. I tried to get there last night, but they didn't know whether there was any hotels around it, so I stayed at Orly, and it was almost 45 minutes drive from Orly to there.

Q. Do you want to tell us what this exercise has cost you?
ROBERT KARLSSON: Actually not that bad. It was a cheap ticket down to Monday could he, probably a 150 Euros. The flight from -- back to Orly, I mean, probably a couple hundred Euros. But the private was 11,000. So it was playing or not playing; I don't think you guys would appreciate if a former Ryder Cup player would have pulled out on the third day of the PGA Championship, so I thought it was worth it.

Q. Did the travel agent get a private flight?
ROBERT KARLSSON: It was my agent that did that, so I kept her awake probably till one o'clock this morning.

Q. And what about your caddie? Had he gone back to Coventry?
ROBERT KARLSSON: He was back in Coventry but he had my clubs and the luggage, so it was very good, so he came back this morning.

Q. You said you got 500 metres from your front door; is that right?

Q. And did your wife come out?
ROBERT KARLSSON: No. We decided not to. We thought, no, we'd better go, if I'm going to get to this 9.05 flight --

Q. Never saw her at all?
ROBERT KARLSSON: I said, no, I'm at this roundabout and I'm turning around now.
"I just made the cut."
"What are you talking about?"
It was impossible, 3-over was out, all day. The way the course played, the way the weather was, there was no chance three was going to make it.

Q. This whole idea of not thinking you missed the cut, does that free up your mind? Thinking of Rory a few weeks ago at Quail Hollow.
ROBERT KARLSSON: Yeah, it feels like you definitely get a second chance. Obviously lying in a situation where I was just making the cut, just to go out and play and enjoy it. I mean, if it doesn't work, nobody cares. I mean, if you get things going, it is possible, especially in the mornings out there.
The greens are quite nice. If you hit good shots like I did in the beginning, if you hit on the right side on these greens, the ball often feeds to the hole. Like on 3, it's a really difficult pin behind the trap, but if you catch the slope, it sort of goes down towards the hole. There's quite a few holes like that. So if you get it right, you can make a score.
Obviously I got off to a good start, and I did.

Q. Did you have time to do your normal practise today?
ROBERT KARLSSON: Yeah, no problem. I had breakfast and stretching. That was no problem.

Q. What time did you get here?

Q. Was there a little bit -- when you started out today, a little bit of your own self-pride, because you looked so furious when you came off with yourself yesterday.
ROBERT KARLSSON: Yeah, I was not happy last night, I can tell you that. If I was going to get a second chance, I would at least want to get out and take it on. Because last -- I mean, I struggled a bit with the game, especially yesterday, I felt I got a little protective at the end.
I didn't play -- obviously I played poorly the first day, but I should have done a better score I think. But yesterday I got a little bit protective in the end, and obviously, I mean, hung on to it, but then I made a stupid mistake on the 18th. I mean, I hit a flyer from the rough and got in that trap. And not sure it was going to be the number, otherwise I probably would have laid up, because the ball wasn't lying very good in the bunker. It was like, can't lay up, from 60 yards from the green, if you know you're going to make par, so you'd better take it on.

Q. And now a complete change of mind-set?
ROBERT KARLSSON: Yeah, it's a new day. I mean, you can only laugh about what's happened in the last sort of 15 hours, when I got out on the course, yeah, I'm here to play. Why not.

Q. I meant looking forward.
ROBERT KARLSSON: Yeah, I'm looking forward to the next -- obviously, I mean, I don't know what I'm going to be tomorrow. I might be 15th; I might be first tomorrow, depending what happens. Nobody really knows what's happening with scoring around in golf course because we have no reference, it's new pin positions all the time and new holes to play.
I think everybody is sort of feeling their way around how they are going to do it. I think tomorrow is just, I'll probably try to go out and do the same as I did today.

Q. Plans for the rest of the day? Sleep?
ROBERT KARLSSON: No, a little bit, go to the gym, keep staying awake. Otherwise I won't sleep tonight. I'm not too bad. I've had these kind of experiences before, I've been travelling so much, with jet-lag and stuff. So I'm not too bad with that. Maybe for an hour or so, but do other things and go watch the Champions League and do things like that just to keep myself going. Because otherwise, I'll sleep three hours in the afternoon and that's not good.

Q. Where do you rank that round? What would you put it up against in your career?
ROBERT KARLSSON: Probably the most unexpected (laughter).
Scoring-wise, it was perfect. It was perfect. Because I mean, I was in trouble a number of times. So scoring-wise, it was by far the best. Playing-wise, I definitely played better in Qatar, for example, I hit more fairways. Today I was lucky, hit in the trees and chipped out sideways and still made par. But the putter was very, very hot.

Q. On the card, obviously it's a flawless, historic record. You've mentioned a hint of trouble. Where were you in the trees?
ROBERT KARLSSON: I pulled a tee shot on No. 8 just a little bit. But I hit the tree there right in the corner and kicked straight left into the trees. So I had to chip it out sideways and hit a great wedge, actually. It's a back left pin, it looks like it's in the water hazard, the pin, and it's just like, how can that be a pin there? And I hit a wedge left of the pin, as well, and knocked it to ten feet which was very important. Chipped and one-putted on 9. I think I had 11 putts the front nine. So I missed a couple of greens. Then 17, I hooked it left. It was heading straight out-of-bounds and but hit the tree and fell straight down, so I had to chip out sideways, 4-iron up, wedge, to 12, 15 feet left of the flag and holed that as well.
Good 2-putt on 15, I was on the left edge of the green but that new hole, some evil person has designed and I was driving 3-wood, 4-iron into the winds and two great shots but I still had a putt 50 feet across the green and left myself an 8-footer.
134 I was in the trees, hit it through a gap and left it 15 yards short of the green and chipped it up to four feet. So there was a number of good, good saves.

Q. How much did you assess the cut mark yesterday? Did you just say, that's it, I'm out?
ROBERT KARLSSON: I never looked at it. I was sure I was out. I was lying I think 102nd or 104nd when I got off the golf course. The cut was I think between 11 and 1-over the first day, so 3-over was no chance. I think it was more than me thinking that. It wasn't only me that was at home. Alastair Forsyth was at home, as well. Mark Foster; he doesn't live very far away, but he counted he was out.

Q. Do you know how many putts you had?
ROBERT KARLSSON: About 18 I think? No, if you go through the round it would be probably 24 or something like that. I 2-putted 1, 2-putted 4 for a birdie. 2-putted 10,11, 15, and that was it, 23.

Q. Would that be your best-ever putting round?
ROBERT KARLSSON: No. But the putts weren't as long as these ones. There was a number -- Dubai, for example where they have great greens and very firm, it just rolls off the back of your putter from the fringe, but these are really a lot of important putts and also in a situation where you have a really good round going and I holed good putts at the end.

Q. There wasn't any suggestion, you'll just withdraw or anything?
ROBERT KARLSSON: It crossed my mind. But I know the press in England can be quite lethal and those sort of things, so wasn't an option.

Q. Are you giving us the credit then?
ROBERT KARLSSON: Yeah, I give you all the credit. (Laughter) No, but it doesn't look good. It's a Ryder Cup year, I'm a former Ryder Cup year, being on the Tournament Committee, you can't pull out of our biggest events, that's just the way it is.

Q. With all that's gone on, will it take you a while for it to really sink in how historic it is what you've just gone?
ROBERT KARLSSON: For the moment, I'm going to try to putt this behind me because there's another round tomorrow. So I'm going to go to the range and hit some balls. But I won't go to the putting green though.

Q. Maybe next week you'll think back on it?
ROBERT KARLSSON: It's just one of those things, you don't really understand until after, so I guess so.

Q. It was here last year that you started really worrying for your career?
ROBERT KARLSSON: Yeah. I didn't see the ball. That's not good when you're playing golf. Yeah, I actually played better than I did this week, but the scoring, I just couldn't chip-and-putt. Obviously was worrying, and I was out for six months or four months or whatever it was.

Q. Was there a specific moment when you thought you had a problem, do you remember a shot somewhere?
ROBERT KARLSSON: Yeah, it was a chip shot from over the back on 61 at The London Club, The European Open. The ball was sitting up and it's a pretty straightforward, standard chip, ten-yard chip and I looked down at the ball and I was like, I couldn't possibly miss this one. I didn't have a clue if the ball was up in the air or if it was on the grounds. And then after that, it was like, I'd better have this checked out, because before I thought it was something different. But that was a bit of a -- that was when I really knew there was something going on.
PAUL SYMES: I think your eyesight is all right now, Robert. Thank you.

End of FastScripts

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