Dubai: Robert Karlsson’s victory at the season-ending Dubai World Championship was more important to the Swede than winning the 2008 European money-list.
“This must be the highest achievement,” the 41-year-old told reporters after beating Britain’s Ian Poulter at the second playoff hole in the heat of the desert on Sunday.
“If you look at the quality here -- the world numbers one, three and seven (Lee Westwood, Martin Kaymer and Paul Casey) -- it’s a fantastic field.”
Led in for his post-tournament news conference, Karlsson was welcomed with the words: “Robert, the 2010 Dubai World Champion”, and the smiling Swede was clearly overjoyed.
“That sounds pretty good -- you can say it again if you want,” said the former Ryder Cup player after picking up the first prize of USD 1.26 million and securing sixth place behind final money-list winner Kaymer.
Karlsson has had a tough time since capturing the 2008 order of merit crown.
He was sidelined last year for several months after suffering from blurred vision caused by fluid behind the retina in his left eye.
Karlsson then ended a 16-month individual title drought by winning the Qatar Masters in January before being struck down by glandular fever. However, he said he had been fully fit since the middle of the year.
“I would say I have been 100 percent since June,” he explained. “But obviously you have to build up and especially being off for a while and not playing that great for a while, it’s more the confidence (that suffers).”
Last week’s Hong Kong Open winner Poulter was left deflated by the bizarre incident that cost him a second straight victory at the second playoff hole in Dubai.
The Englishman dramatically incurred a one-stroke penalty when he mistakenly dropped his ball on to his coin, causing the marker to flip over on the green.
“There were a lot of positives to take away from this week but right now I am not really seeing them,” said Poulter.
“It was a shame it ended the way it did but I guess I shouldn’t have dropped my ball on my coin.”
Westwood was more upbeat after he finished in a tie for third place with Spain’s Alvaro Quiros despite playing only his second tournament in seven weeks due to a long-standing leg injury.
The Englishman believed his game would get even better when he was tournament sharp.
“My game is rusty,” said Westwood, who won the inaugural Dubai World Championship 12 months ago. “I hit shots this week that I wouldn’t normally hit.
“Hopefully when I do have a chance to practice properly and sharpen up, there will be improvements.
“But still it was a pretty good defence,” added Westwood. “I haven’t maximised my chances this week and if you don’t do that you’re not going to win golf tournaments.”