Karlsson’s whirlwind trip ends in dazzling 62
Sunday, January 23, 2011
VIRGINIA WATER, England – Both trips Robert Karlsson has made to play in this week’s 4.5 million euro BMW PGA Championship have been arduous.
Yes, both trips.
They might just turn out to be well worth the effort. Karlsson stands at 6 under par and two shots off the lead after a third-round 62. Nine birdies and no bogeys gave the Ryder Cup player the lowest round in the European Tour’s flagship event since 1955.
Karlsson is now very happy he made the extra trip.
The 6-foot-5-inch Swede initially had to drive from his home in Monaco to England because of the ongoing volcanic ash problems that have been playing havoc with British airspace. Karlsson returned to Monaco by plane on Friday night after thinking he had missed the cut. A double-bogey 7 at the par-5 18th put Karlsson at 3 over par for the tournament, and he thought he had the weekend off.
Karlsson got within 500 yards of his Monaco home when he got a text message telling him he had made the cut. He thought of staying at home, but only briefly.
“It crossed my mind, but I know the press in England can be quite lethal so it wasn’t really an option,” Karlsson said.
“It’s a Ryder Cup year, I’m a Ryder Cup player, I’m on the Tournament Committee, so you can’t pull out of our biggest events. That’s just the way it is.”
The Swede couldn’t get a scheduled flight back to England, so he had to arrange for a private plane. He flew to Orly Airport in Paris, and then spent $11,000 for a private jet to take him across the English Channel.
It meant traveling through the night.
“I got in the taxi at my hotel in Orly at 4:30 a.m., but the driver didn’t speak one word of English, and my French is not up to standard,” he said.
“He was so tired, he kept falling asleep and I felt I had to talk to him to keep him awake. Then we were in the middle of nowhere and I didn’t have a clue where we were going. We called the airport. I finally got there at a quarter to six, and my flight was at six.
“I was here for 6:45 UK time (ready for his 8:55 tee time).”
With only three hours’ sleep, Karlsson established the course record over the newly designed Wentworth West Course to get into contention to win the biggest title of his career.
“It was quite funny at breakfast because Soren Hansen said, ‘This trip has a 63 or something written all over it.’ It feels like I definitely got another chance today. I was sure I was out, but in a situation where I just made the cut, I could just go out and play and enjoy it. If it doesn’t work, nobody cares.
“You can only laugh about what’s happened in the last 15 hours or so.”
With 750,000 euro going to the winner, the Swede might be laughing all the way to the bank.