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Pattaya Daily News

05 November 2009 :: 14:11:11 pm 6037

Karlsson Joins Stenson In European Team For Battle

THE ROYAL TROPHY 2010 : Robert Karlsson has warned Europe will be on a revenge mission when he joins fellow Swedish star Henrik Stenson in the European line-up for the fourth edition of the Royal Trophy to take place on 8-10 January 2010 at the exclusive Amata Spring Country Club in Chonburi, Thailand.
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Karlsson admits he has been stung by Europe’s defeats in the 2009 Royal Trophy and in last year’s Ryder Cup. And he wants to see Europe’s best players come together to do battle in Thailand.

He explained: “I want to make sure we are fully prepared for the fourth edition of the Royal Trophy as we need to re-assert ourselves as the strongest team in world golf.

“That will not be easy because Asian golf is getting more powerful all the time, and the self- belief of their players will have risen dramatically after their convincing Royal Trophy victory at the start of this year.

“The upcoming Royal Trophy is very important for us – especially as we will be playing under the banner of Seve Ballesteros, as European Captain. Seve is someone every European golfer owes a massive debt to, not the least because of the way he raised the profile of the game at home, almost single-handedly.

“And the courage and determination he has shown in his battle to recover from illness are further examples of his incredible strength of character. It has been a humbling experience to witness his bravery in the face of such adversity. Playing under his captaincy is an honour to me, and I am very much looking forward to the Match.”

Karlsson, a key figure in the resounding victory achieved by Seve’s Team in the 2007 Royal Trophy, is perfectly qualified to act as Europe’s standard bearer. He topped the European Tour’s Order of Merit in 2008, thanks to a glorious end of season spree that brought him three of the most prestigious titles on offer in quick succession – the Deutsche Bank Players Championship of Europe, the Mercedes-Benz Championship, and the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.

He was an incredible 48 under par for those three events, adding to a reputation for low scoring that saw him set 36 and 54 hole European Tour records on his way to a runaway victory in the 2006 Wales Open.

The ability to rack up the birdies will make the big-hitting Swede a dangerous opponent at the 7,470-yard Amata Spring Country Club layout, just as it did in 2007, when he was unbeaten in his three matches. That impressive display followed a winning Ryder Cup debut in 2006, and Karlsson again showed his appetite and proficiency for teamwork by pairing up with Henrik Stenson to win the World Cup of Golf last November.

It is no wonder European Captain Ballesteros was pleased to welcome him back into the fold. The Spanish legend commented: “Robert is a wonderful golfer, and someone who fully embraces the culture of being part of a team.

“He is one of the finest players in the world, and we have already seen what a formidable duo he and Henrik (Stenson) have proven to be. Re-uniting them for the Royal Trophy is further evidence of my determination to see Europe return to winning ways, a passion evident throughout the whole of European golf.

“The nomination of Robert Karlsson and Henrik Stenson is our notice to Captain Ozaki that Europe is coming to Thailand to win and that we are ready for the challenge.”

The formidable Karlsson is certain to add great strength to the European Team. In 2008, he finished eighth at the Masters, fourth at the US Open and seventh in the Open Championship. The super Swede has been ranked as high as number six in the world, is the winner of 9 European Tour titles and was a member of Europe’s Ryder Cup team in 2008 at Valhalla and 2006 at the K Club, Ireland.

While Karlsson joins Henrik Stenson in what is certain to be a magnificently powerful European Team, Asian skipper Naomichi ‘Joe’ Ozaki has already nominated five of his golfing gladiators for Asia’s first ever defense of the Trophy – Japanese global phenomenon 18-year-old Ryo Ishikawa, Asian Tour Order of Merit leader Thongchai Jaidee, the winner of three Japan Tour titles in 2008 Prayad Marksaeng, the Japan Tour’s hottest player Yuta Ikeda and nine-time international tournament title winner Charlie Wi.

Reporter : Jack Rames   Photo : Internet   Category : Sports News

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