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June 11, 2010
COLIN MURRAY: Alright. We'll go ahead and get started. Robert, thanks for joining us here in the media room for the St. Jude Classic, presented by Smith & Nephew. 4-under par 66 today after a 3-under 67 yesterday. Your first time here in Memphis. If you could just give us a few quick comments on your opening 36 holes, and then we'll open it up to questions.
ROBERT KARLSSON: Obviously I'm very, very happy with where I'm standing. The last couple of weeks off, practiced last week, and came here to get a bit of -- to get going after practicing, because it's quite difficult if you work a bit on your swing and things like that, to get into tournament mode again. That was the most important thing for my getting here. It's beautiful golf course. It's a good test. It's great to be here.
COLIN MURRAY: You won earlier this year in Qatar. I know it was a couple months ago, just the start of your year up to this point.
ROBERT KARLSSON: It was a great way to start out as well as I did. I was out for pretty much four and a half months last year, season, and I didn't play very well at all at the end of last year. And this year it's been a bit up and down, but obviously fantastic to get the win and prove to myself that I can do it. So I'm very happy where I am, and things are good.
COLIN MURRAY: Questions.
Q. Did the eye injury start here last year? What was the timing of that?
ROBERT KARLSSON: Yeah. It was last week of May. I was out from last week of May to mid-September.
Q. How did you injure the eye?
ROBERT KARLSSON: It was fluid behind the retina and something that can build up over time. I probably had it for at least a few weeks before that. I noticed when we were -- played the PGA Championship at Wentworth last year. I noticed I couldn't read the lines. Everything was blurry. Especially when the light came down, I was really struggling.
The last week I played was the London Club, European Open. I had the ball sitting up in the rough. I looked down and didn't have a clue. It was lying in the bottom of the rough, was sitting up. I had a chip shot, and I just felt like I could completely miss the ball. That's was when it got a bit scary. I had an eye doctor look at it the week after. That was the end of that.
Q. Robert, I was going to ask you about the final hole that you played and you got an advantageous bounce off a cart; is that right?
ROBERT KARLSSON: I didn't aim for that one, actually (laughter). I hit it a bit right, and I was very happy when I saw it -- when I saw where it was. That happens. It was good there was no one in the cart, anyway.
Q. I was going to ask you, at this stage, how prepared are you to play the U.S. Open?
ROBERT KARLSSON: I'm looking forward to it. I played a lot of golf. I don't know how many events this year, but it's pretty good. I would like to put in another couple of good rounds over the weekend, and it would be great to go there.
I've never been to Pebble Beach. I'm definitely looking forward to that. Now it's this event that's the focus, and it's great. I made the cut, and I'm in the hunt. And whatever is going to happen is going to happen over this weekend and a great week coming up, great challenge. I've never been to Pebble Beach, so it will be great.
Q. Back to the eye issue, how scary was it for you when it first developed or when --
ROBERT KARLSSON: When it first started, I saw the eye doctor. It's not dangerous as long as you get rid of it as quick as you can. If it's fluid there longer than six months, it could damage the sight sort of in the future.
The first question was, "What is your job?"
"I'm a golfer."
Like, "How good are you? Can you afford to take time off?" (Laughter).
"Well, I'm pretty good."
"Can you afford to take time off?"
I mean, I just had to. Then I played the Pro-Am at the Scandinavian Masters a week after the British Open or so. I stood over the ball, and it was exactly the same feeling with the chipping. That was scary. Two and a half months later, absolutely no change whatsoever. That was not a good feeling.
So I only played 36 holes of golf from the last week of May to mid-September last year, and that was -- it wasn't so easy to come back. But, I mean, I actually got that far, and probably beginning of August almost had to become friendly with the feeling of yeah, I could have actually played my last event. It was almost like I had to -- yeah, okay, if I don't play another event again, that's it. I still had a pretty good career.
I won the Order of Merit, won a bunch of tournaments if this is it. It was almost like I relaxed a bit when that happened. So when I sort of became friendly with that feeling and thought it was great, just a few week afterwards, actually, was a big big turn around and I could play again.
Q. Do you have any idea what caused it?
ROBERT KARLSSON: The doctor who has been looking after it all the time said it's stress related. You see quite a lot in athletes, pilots, doctors. His colleague, his doctor colleague, he had it as well. He played tennis and started missing easy forehands. He knew where the ball was and smacked a hole in the air.
I know at at least one football, soccer player, Perlic Johannsen (phonetic) Swedish player. He had it. He was out with it last year as well.
It depends where on the retina the fluid -- it becomes like a blister. Depends where it is, how much is influenced on your vision. Mine was right on top of where all the nerve ends come out. So it was terrible for the vision. Mine was a big, big change in my vision. Perlic (phonetic), when he had it, it's not so much for him because he had more of the side. It can depend a bit how it happens.
Q. How did they cure it? Is there medication you take?
ROBERT KARLSSON: Eyedrops. They can take it with laser as well. But the problem with mine, I was going to lose 25 percent of the vision in my left eye. That's not an option. Cortisone shots straight into the eye. That was not really an option, either (laughter).
He said as well, "I can do it, I don't recommend it. Actually, if you want to do it, I would not do it on you because the infection risk on an eye is too big. You're too young to have those sort of things. 55, 60, maybe I can figure it. Not so much for cortisone, especially in the eye."
Q. You took eyedrops for it?
ROBERT KARLSSON: I still do, actually. Keep -- I keep monitoring it all the time. Pretty much every -- last time I saw him was probably two months ago. See him again in September. Take pictures into the eye, to the back of the eye, and you see if it's starting to build up.
Q. How many times a day do you have to take eyedrops?
ROBERT KARLSSON: Five days a week. Just one drop. Two different things. It's no big deal now.
Q. Did getting friendly with the idea of stepping away? Has it changed your perspective at all about your game now?
ROBERT KARLSSON: Probably wish it would have changed a little bit more than that. It's definitely put things in perspective a lot more, and that's one of the things I've been working on a lot anyway to free myself up. And, I mean, at the end of the day, it's only a game. It's great to -- it's great when you play well and the rewards are fantastic, but if you don't play well, it's not the end of the world.
We have so many other good things going for us. Very, very fortunate to be here. So, I mean, I have worked very hard to get into that frame of mind because it frees myself up and I enjoy the game a lot more, which is the most important thing.
COLIN MURRAY: Alright. Maybe one more for Robert.
Q. You do the journal, on-line journal, and you do the Twitter. Do you enjoy that? Do you get a lot of feedback?
ROBERT KARLSSON: I do enjoy it. Sometimes -- this week hasn't been so easy because I've been late tee times, but I do. This week, I haven't done much. I'm going to do one in the afternoon. I do enjoy it. Try to put things that I've learned from myself and things that I can get better at and things -- I do enjoy it.
COLIN MURRAY: Alright. Thanks, Robert. Play well this weekend.
ROBERT KARLSSON: Thank you.
FastScripts by ASAP Sports.
An Interview With:
JOHN BUSH: We'd like to welcome Charlie Hoffman into the interview room after a 5-under par. He's our leader at 8-under par. Charlie, great playing out there today. If we can just get some comments on your round.
CHARLEY HOFFMAN: Start off a little slow, actually. Made a good par save on 1 and made a few more pars and made a bogey on -- converted, I think about par 5 and got it going. Made a good putt on 7 for birdie. Parred 8, birdie on 9 and got it going a little bit, 9, 10, 11. I made birdies 12, and then I birdied 13, 14 -- 14 actually made the longest putt of my life, about 90-footer on 14, front left part of the green trying to get it down to it. Made birdie there. I think I parred in from there and pretty good round.
JOHN BUSH: Little bit about your season up to this point. Not quite what were you expecting. Talk a little bit about it.
CHARLEY HOFFMAN: Yeah. West coast where I grew up usually is where I play well, won the Bob Hope there. Usually pretty good success. Phoenix or San Diego. I was injured, wrist was hurt, and didn't play very well, and took five weeks off right after that to let the wrist heal, and everything is about 90, 95 percent.
Played good at the Players. Didn't have the finish I wanted. Played good at San Antonio. Didn't finish very well. Hopefully, getting going this week and finish a little better. That's the main goal for me for the week, no matter where I finish, to play good coming down the stretch. I haven't done that this year. That's that I've prided myself in the past, having to play good when I get in contention.
JOHN BUSH: Questions.
Q. How did you hurt your wrist, and talk about that?
CHARLEY HOFFMAN: No idea. I wish I knew. I started hurting L.A, Pebble area. The only thing I could think of my -- I was hitting a ton of bunker shots in the off-season, and just there's a capsule in the hand that they said was swollen, and the two bones when I would make a full swing would pinch it. I guess it was -- I would say over-practice more than anything during the off-season.
Q. Which one?
CHARLEY HOFFMAN: Left wrist. Right in this her this area (indicating).
Q. The back-9 you kind of slowed down a bit. Talk about that being the heat a factor, or was it hot out there?
CHARLEY HOFFMAN: The pace of play slowed down a little bit. So obviously you don't try to run your ball and wait and run to your ball. You sort of slow your walk down when there's a wait. We waited from 14 on, on pretty much every shot. You sort of just slow down, and definitely heat is a factor. You're not going to run up that far when it's 95 or 95 percent humidity.
JOHN BUSH: Next question?
Q. You like playing quicker? You like a little bit quicker pace?
CHARLEY HOFFMAN: I think I pull the trigger quicker than most. I wouldn't say -- you get a little too fast and you might get out of rhythm a little bit. I definitely would prefer playing faster than slower. I would consider myself a medium to fast player for sure.
JOHN BUSH: He's let's go through the card. Bogey on No. 5.
CHARLEY HOFFMAN: I pulled it left off my second shot. I was in the middle of the fairway. I was in the bunker, had a decent shot, 5 feet, and the putt didn't happen to go in .
JOHN BUSH: You birdied 7 and an 8-hole stretch starting with No. 7.
CHARLEY HOFFMAN: Made a good putt on 7, probably 30-footer.
9 hit it pretty close, 15 feet.
10, I hit it about 15 feet.
11, about 8 or 9. Made that. Those are the ones you need to make to get the round going.
Then made like about a 25, 30-footer on 13, and 14 got lucky and made it from the front left part of the green, trying to get a par on that hole any day and sneaking away with a 2 in the Kodak Challenge hole is always good.
JOHN BUSH: 77 feet, 8 inches.
CHARLEY HOFFMAN: I think they gypped me a few feet (laughter).
JOHN BUSH: Anything else? Charlie, great playing through two rounds. Keep it going.
CHARLEY HOFFMAN: Thanks. Appreciate it.
End of FastScripts