THERE’S nothing to beat digging out old photographs if you’re down in the dumps and needing a pick-me-up. It certainly worked for Robert Karlsson when he arrived at a crossroads in his career two years ago exactly.
On the eve of the Open Championship at Royal Lytham, the Swede was struck by brain freeze and couldn’t move his club back. It led to him withdrawing and concern arising about his career.
“I had to do some soul searching for myself if I wanted to keep doing this,” reflected Karlsson after coming in with a three-under-par 69 in the first match out at Royal Liverpool.
“I had a team talk with the guys I’m working with and we decided to look at old pictures from when I did well in 2008.”
He topped the European Order of Merit that season, clinching the coveted title with back-to-back wins, the second coming in the Dunhill Links Championship.
“We used those pictures as a benchmark and things are coming together nicely now,” added the two-times Ryder Cup player.
Three top-10 finishes in the last six weeks, including a tie for eighth in the Scottish Open in Aberdeen, where he signed off with a 66, back that up.
It wasn’t long after his aforementioned success at St Andrews that Karlsson was struck by an eye problem that led to a four-month lay-off.
“I got fluid behind the retina in my left eye,” he reflected once more. “I couldn’t see the ball and playing from the rough was worst as I had no idea if the ball was sitting up or on the bottom of it when I looked down. It was hopeless.
“I went to the doctor, who had no idea I was a professional golfer. He asked me, ‘are you any good and do you have a lot of money?’ When I replied, ‘I’m all right’, he told me, ‘Then you should have a long time off’.”
Karlsson had missed eight cuts in a row in the game’s oldest major before finishing joint-35th at Hoylake in 2006. “I put myself in trouble and wasn’t patient enough,” he said of that wretched run. “But playing well here was a huge step forward in terms of playing links golf.”