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Robert Karlsson trying to find new balance

Robert Karlsson faces a tricky balancing act at the Dunhill Links Championship, being competitive on the one hand and not risking a return of the eye problem that has dogged him for months on the other.

Karlsson, who capped his 2008 European order of merit victory with the title here last year, will be playing his first individual tournament in four months on Thursday after appearing on the losing Continental Europe team in last week’s Seve Trophy.

The 40-year-old Swede knows the pressure of a competitive environment could trigger the career-threatening retinal problems that have troubled him since late May.

“Winning is stressful and I’m told that was the root of my problem,” Karlsson told reporters on Wednesday. “But I did enjoy last year very, very much.

“I know it’s about not putting too much pressure on myself but that is easier said than done. It’s a balance I have to find between going out and doing too much and being successful. It’s up to me to find that balance now.

“I have a short-term goal at the moment: to make Dubai (Dubai World Championship). I need to have a couple of good weeks. It’s more important for me to start enjoying it (tournament play), build on where I am now but make sure I don’t bring this on again.”

Karlsson, who lies 89th on the Race to Dubai, with only the top 60 to feature in the season-ending World Championship, may have plenty of opportunity this week to gauge how much lost ground he needs to make up.

Three players trying to oust the absent Martin Kaymer from the top of the money-list—Rory McIlroy, Lee Westwood and Ross Fisher—are in the tournament being staged at St Andrews, Carnoustie and Kingsbarns courses.

Three-times major champion Padraig Harrington, twice a winner of the event, has returned from a successful two months in America, looking for his first win of the year to make a late bid to be European number one for a second time.


October 1, 2009

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