Post Fourball Interview With: HENRIK STENSON & ROBERT KARLSSON
23 September 2006
GORDON SIMPSON: Okay, everyone, we have the two rookies on The European Team, the two Swedes, Henrik and Robert. Henrik, we didn't get a chance to speak to you yesterday, so we'll take this opportunity now. It seemed to be that you and Padraig tried everything in your power, but Zach was just too hot today.
HENRIK STENSON: Yeah, he played absolutely fantastic today, all day long. What did he make, seven birdies I think. As I said, we tried everything we could. We were close on 13 and 14, and then Padraig chipped in on 15. Then of course he rolled his birdie putt in from 15, 20 feet and he chipped in on 17 after we missed our try. It was a disappointing day losing the game, but some days you can only take your hat off and say, well done.
GORDON SIMPSON: You waited a long time for this. How has the experience been these last two days?
HENRIK STENSON: It was great yesterday. I had a great day out there with Howell and very happy with the way I played. And we got at least half a point. It was a great experience. The crowd's been unbelievable. They just carried us forward. So energy has not been wasted.
GORDON SIMPSON: And Robert, you've gone to the 18th twice now, and Paul Casey gave an exhibition like at Oakland Hills on Saturday morning two years ago.
ROBERT KARLSSON: Yeah, it was very nice to watch that second shot and to get the chance that I did after J.J.'s 3 putt. So it was great, and this time J.J. didn't play great but he got it together when he had to, played good on 16 and 17, gave himself a chance on 18. It was almost a bit of the same as yesterday. We were in front and then we got behind, but we managed to get a halve. So it was a good match.
GORDON SIMPSON: Questions, please.
Q. You're both rookies. I wonder, if you would, could you describe to me and for everybody else here what it's like in The European Team room? Who does the most talking? Does any aspect of it surprise you? Does the personality of any of the players that you're now getting to know better because of this experience surprise you within that team room?
ROBERT KARLSSON: Who do you think talks the most? What would be your guess? Garcia is quite a good try. (Laughter). The atmosphere is great. Garcia is talking a lot, entertaining a lot. For me, both Darren has talked to me about sort of what I was waiting before yesterday, and Colin as well, and Padraig. Pretty much everyone has done their part in supporting me as a rookie. Henrik has talked himself, and I have had great support from those guys and it's a very, very good atmosphere.
HENRIK STENSON: I think the best thing was yesterday morning to go down by the first tee and seeing the guys tee off. Obviously Robert played in the morning. For me, it was just a good thing to get the feeling of it and then go and prepare myself for the afternoon game. That sort of made it a bit easier to get in there.
Q. You say that Garcia does most of the talking.
ROBERT KARLSSON: Yes.
Q. Does anybody listen to him?
ROBERT KARLSSON: Yes. (Laughter). Well, he's more the entertainer, put it that way.
Q. Can you give us some examples? What kind of jokes does he pull?
ROBERT KARLSSON: He's more just a big laugh to be around. He's just a big heap of energy swirling around in the room.
Q. Being rookies, this is the first time you're experiencing the emotions of playing in the Ryder Cup. What is it like with the fist pumps and the smiles, and your side seemingly so much more emotional and the American side seemingly more businesslike? What is it like for you two guys?
ROBERT KARLSSON: For me coming up on the first tee yesterday was very, very emotional. It was tears in my eyes, as well. This is what it's all about.
Great reception from the crowd, and as you know, the course is fantastic. And then myself and Casey, when we played, there hasn't been much sort of fist pumping and interaction between the two of us, it's been more just a word here and there, but it's felt like a good and well working partnership, anyway, even though it wouldn't look the same as when Garcia and José is playing, for example.
So everyone is different, but I think it's been a working partnership and I'm happy with the way we've played.
Q. There were speculations that you would play together in either fourballs or foursomes, maybe because you both come from Sweden. How important is it that you speak the same language, and is it, in fact, a factor when you put together a pair that you come from the same nation? And besides that, how much does it mean that Sweden has such a great golf reputation and already a tradition in Ryder Cup?
HENRIK STENSON: I think obviously it doesn't have that big an importance since we're not playing together.
I think it's really important that Sweden gets players in the Ryder Cup. Last time, we just missed out. So we felt really good to have at least two players on the team this time. I think that's important for golf in Sweden. We really feel that we get the support from back home.
ROBERT KARLSSON: And if you look on the pairings for these two days, it has been a lot of different pairings. There hasn't been many there's been a lot of mixing and matching. That's been the strength of this team. Everyone has played in the matches and that's fantastic over the last two days, mixing and matching different pairings so I think everyone more or less for tomorrow is feeling pretty fresh. Everybody is playing and everybody is feeling fresh, so that's a good situation that we have. Q. Historically the Ryder Cup there has been some great partnerships like Seve and Ollie, Westwood and Clarke at the moment, from what you've seen so far. Can you speak to what makes a great team and why some just don't work when you think they really should?
ROBERT KARLSSON: Well, if you look at Garcia, he's glowing when he's playing together with someone else. He just loves this competition, playing with someone else, and he just loves being out there with someone else. I think he just he definitely glows with it.
Same with Darren and Lee. There's one plus one becomes three; the stronger they look, more comfortable out there, they know each other. Probably a bit of a personality thing and that you manage to get into a mode of having really fun out there, and if nothing happens, you can lean on your partner a little bit, and trust between the two players is really important.
Q. Did you expect to play together, and if so, when were you told that you weren't playing together? Did you practise together or did you expect to play together?
ROBERT KARLSSON: Yeah, we practiced together on Tuesday. We played nine holes. We played together. I thought it would if we would have been put together I was more or less expecting it, put it this way. But the way everyone was playing, as you say again, you could put pretty much everyone together with everyone. The way it's worked out, I think it's been good for everyone.
HENRIK STENSON: I think also the fact that we're both rookies made an impact on it, as well.
Q. How important is it to not fight the pressure, to embrace the pressure and to enjoy yourself out there, even though you know how much is at stake?
ROBERT KARLSSON: That's the whole key, if you can turn it around and really use it as a benefit and go with it. At the end of the day, it's only a golf tournament, we're here. It's nothing at the end of tomorrow night, we're going to celebrate whatever has happened. It's been a great week for at least all 12 players on our side. I think they will be pretty happy tomorrow night. It has been a fantastic experience for the whole week. So if you can have that sort of feeling for the crowds and whatever is happening around, then it is a benefit for you. I think we both have done that pretty well.
HENRIK STENSON: Yeah, I mean, I was delighted with the crowds yesterday, they were carrying us forward. I was able to focus on my game and also enjoy the moment. I've been waiting a long time and Robert has waited even longer to be here. We want to try to get the positives out of it, definitely.
GORDON SIMPSON: Thank you very much for joining us.
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.