An Interview With: ROBERT KARLSSON
18 September 2006
SCOTT CROCKETT: Robert, welcome, thanks for coming in to join us as always. You assured last week at Wentworth your capabilities in match-play contest; you must be looking forward this week to proving how well you are here.
ROBERT KARLSSON: Yeah, I'm really looking forward to this week in many ways. I haven't been in the Ryder Cup at all since 1997. I mean, I've never played one, but I was commentating for Swedish TV at Valderrama.
SCOTT CROCKETT: You've been waiting for it, you must be very excited that it's actually here and you're starting the week of the Ryder Cup.
ROBERT KARLSSON: Yeah, it is. It a dream to be here and especially being very, very close. That's always a few Ryder Cups back, and it's fantastic to be part of it again.
SCOTT CROCKETT: Thanks for that. We'll take some questions.
Q. How much of a better player are you now than you were in 1999, both physically and mentally?
ROBERT KARLSSON: Mentally it's a huge, huge difference. I feel a lot more comfortable. I don't know what the situation is going to be on Friday yet, but in bigger occasions, I've played major events, both British Open, US PGA, and also last week, in the big events very well. So I feel a lot more comfortable with myself on the golf course.
Q. The memory of being so close in '99 and just missing out, did that drive you on even more this season to seal your place this team?
ROBERT KARLSSON: Not really, because Ryder Cup never really became an issue for me until it was too late and I was already in. So I didn't really have time to think about it. Because when I won in Wales, journalists started to talk about it, but if you look at the money, I was two-thirds there, and with two months to go and so many big tournaments coming up. So even if I was to play well at the moment, there was such a long way to go and I pulled off another really, really big one, and then I never really started to think about it. It was just playing and taking one week at a time and feeling that, yeah, I know I need to win another big one and I could get in there.
But, I mean, after 15 years on Tour, I've won six times, it's not like you just expect yourself to win two in three months. But it happened and I'm here, so really happy with that.
Q. At the start of the week, just wondering what your expectations are for the next seven days and over the last few weeks when you've been playing, have you sort of been discussing with some of your fellow teammates as to what to expect?
ROBERT KARLSSON: No, not at all. I haven't discussed at all with the players what to expect. I played with Sergio in Akron in Bridgestone, we talked a little bit about it. But not really about what to expect. And it's been so many big tournaments for me in such a big run of tournaments leading up to this event, so I haven't allowed myself to really think about this one. I had The Match Play last week and Deutsche Bank in America the week before, and the world golf events. With so many things happening, I just focus on one week at a time.
The first couple of days I've really started to focus this is when we got on the flight today with all of the teammates, when we got off the plane in Dublin, it was like, okay, this is something special here. This doesn't usually happen at the European Open. It was something different and especially coming in here, seeing all of the stands on the golf course. Normally we play here once a year and we never have this stage.
So it's something special here and coming in here, I mean, everything is so much bigger than it normally is. So I guess now, I'll go take the chance to talk to more of the experienced players. I want to get a couple of tips from Darren, so looking forward to it.
SCOTT CROCKETT: Will you be sharing those tips?
ROBERT KARLSSON: Well, to you I can do it, but maybe Tiger, I wouldn't. (Laughter) No, it was more about really taking sure you're prepared for big crowds and making sure you take time with the crowds and signing autographs and have a lot of energy going.
Q. It's easy to put two and two together to say that the two Swedish players, yourself and Henrik, both long players and who both make a lot of birdies, a natural four-ball pairing, is that jumping the gun or is that an obvious conclusion?
ROBERT KARLSSON: Well, it's probably an easy conclusion, but whether it's going to happen or not, I don't know. It really depends on both how both of us are feeling and how the rest of the team is playing. I've said before and I'll say it again, I think Woosie has got a good problem on his side to find pairings who work together because I think you have very, very many options, teams that have played very well in the past and also the new teams that could be working very, very well.
So I think he's got a good task in front of him. He doesn't have to be afraid of mixing up players and he's not lacking options.
Q. Woosie said he had been texting a lot of players to ask them their thoughts on who they would like to play with, can you share with us who you said you would prefer?
ROBERT KARLSSON: Yeah, Henrik was an obvious one, and then I don't really know many of the players very well. So I mean, that was my obvious answer but obviously feel good, feel like we both would be comfortable in each other's company.
Q. Much has been made in previous years of the strength of the team spirit with The European Team, is it too early in the week for you to comment on how it looks this year, and is it a special thing?
ROBERT KARLSSON: Yeah, it's very special. It's very special to play here. It's one of the few times we actually play a team; it's a very individual sport. I think it's a very good group of players here, and we all work very well together and we're looking forward to it.
As far as I can see of the group, the feeling between the players are great.
Q. Have the guys gone out of their way to make you feel more comfortable, being a new guy?
ROBERT KARLSSON: Well, not really in the way that I would expect them to do. There hasn't been anything special, but we've just sort of got together a couple of hours together, been on the bus together and that's pretty much it.
As I said, Darren gave me a couple of tips to think about this and this the first couple of days; it's going to make you tired for the week. I think it's going to be more -- we're going to have our first team meeting tonight at 6 o'clock. So probably there will be more coming up and especially over the next couple of days, so it will be good.
SCOTT CROCKETT: Robert, thanks as always. Good luck this week.
Sunday Video Recap
Check out all the great highlights from Sunday's European victory. Watch
- 1969: Tony Jacklin and Jack Nicklaus on the final hole of the final day.