Saturday, March 20

Tom on Tour: A Chat With Robert Karlsson

The media fly. Tom drives. The media sleep in hotels. Tom sleeps in his car. The media sit in the media center. Tom walks the course. It’s the PGA Tour, seen and written differently. Following is an excerpt from Tom’s e-book on the 2010 WGC-CA Championship.

By Tom Collins
Special to ARMCHAIR GOLF


DESPITE HIS SIZE, I HAD some trouble keeping an eye on Robert Karlsson when he walked out of the scoring room because of the cluster of media people standing between us. Then Karlsson made his way over to the railing, just left of where I was standing, to sign autographs. Well, that was nice of him. For a moment, it looked like he was going to make a left and head in towards the clubhouse, meaning I’d have to hustle around one of the hospitality tents and find some way of cornering him inside. But for now, that challenge was averted.

There were only a few autographs he had to sign, and I was fortunate that after he finished signing, he continued to walk right along the railing and right in front of me, making my task of shouting at him unnecessary.

“Hey, Robert? You met a golf writer friend of mine a couple days ago. An old Scottish writer—”

“Oh yeah.”

“Well, his back was bothering him, so he had to go, but he passed along some questions he wanted me to ask you. You have a minute?”

“Sure.”

Bob wanted to know all sorts of things, like how Robert felt after winning the Qatar Masters (“Great”) or if he was playing in the Scottish Open prior to the Open Championship in July (“Nope”), and I had to think that the anticipation of heavy rains made Robert a little more concise with his answers than he normally might be, since Bob had indicated that this man was nice and liked to talk. But the two questions and answers that interested me the most dealt with his eye injury and golf in Sweden.

Q: How is the left eye feeling? How’s the recovery going?

A: It’s feeling good. I have regular check-ups every two weeks, and it feels fine.

Q: When you were having problems with your eye, how did it affect your game? Was it painful?

A: No, no pain. Just depth perception. It was frustrating because I could never tell if the ball was sitting up or down. I had to look at the side of the ball just so I would know what to do with it.

Q: With how well the Swedes dominate winter sports, why do you think golf is so strong? What I mean to say is, what is it about the Swedish system that produces so many fine players?

A: Well, actually I think it’s for a reason not very many people consider. It’s the great weather. Yes, it can get very cold there, but the weather in the summer is perfect, so you don’t ever have to worry about a bad day on the golf course. Just quality golf. You see so many young kids from Sweden who are very fit, not only because of all the winter sports but also all of the quality golf they’re able to play in the summer.

Despite trying to get inside and off the course because of the impending rain, Karlsson seemed thoughtful and relaxed when he answered the questions, which really meant a lot.

I also noticed, before I left, that because of the steak fajitas today, I had two or three huge black pieces of something sticking out of my teeth. So I guess I should also thank Robert Karlsson for not laughing in my face.

Tom Collins is a former caddie who is following the PGA Tour in 2010. Learn more about his original e-books at TheReluctantJamBoy.com.

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