Robert Karlsson was born on this day in 1969. A Swedish professional golfer who plays on the European Tour and as of 2011 on the PGA Tour.
Karlsson was born in Katrineholm, Sweden where his father was a greenkeeper at the local golf club. He turned professional in 1989 and qualified for membership of the European Tour at the 1990 Qualifying School. Since then he has retained his card and has had a steady career on tour, the highlight of which came in 2008 when he won the Order of Merit. He has finished in the top twenty of the Order of Merit seven times throughout his career and has won eleven events on tour.
At the 2006 Celtic Manor Wales Open, Karlsson broke the European Tour’s 36 hole and 54 hole scoring records by shooting 124 for the first two rounds and 189 for the first three. However as the course was a par 69, which is rare at the top level, his to-par scores were a much less remarkable 14 under after two rounds and 18 under after three.
Karlsson’s second victory of 2006 at the Deutsche Bank Players Championship of Europe in July helped him reach the top 50 of the Official World Golf Rankings and in 2008 he entered the top 25. His win at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship took him to number 8 in October 2008. A T3 finish at the Portugal Masters two weeks later took him to number 6. He has spent over 25 weeks in the top-10 since 2008.
Karlsson was a member of the Continental Europe team in the Seve Trophy in 2000, 2002 and 2007. In 1999 he was eleventh on the Ryder Cup qualifying table just missing out on the last automatic place, and was not selected as a captain’s pick. He made his Ryder Cup debut in 2006, at the age of 37, along with fellow Swede Henrik Stenson. He played again in 2008, forming a partnership with Pí¡draig Harrington in the foursomes and beating Justin Leonard 5 & 3 in the singles on Sunday.
After a strong finish to the season, Karlsson won the Order of Merit in 2008, being the first Swedish golfer to do so. Because the name of the money list changes to the “Race to Dubai” beginning with the 2009 season, it was the final “Order of Merit” win. This achievement, among other things, resulted in him winning Swedish male athlete of the year at the Swedish Sports Gala in January 2009, also a Swedish male golfer first.
Karlsson is one of the tallest golfers on the European Tour at 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m) Like many leading Swedish golfers he lives outside his home country, basing himself in the tax haven of Monaco.
In June 2009, Karlsson suffered from an eye injury, with no depth-perception in his left eye. It occurred during the week of the St. Jude Classic, the week before the US Open, which Karlsson was set to play in, teeing off in the first round with fellow Swede Henrik Stenson. The eye injury caused Karlsson to withdraw from the event and he missed most of the rest of the 2009 season. He returned for The Vivendi Trophy toward the end of the season, and completed his recovery by claiming his tenth Tour title at the 2010 Commercialbank Qatar Masters the following January. In June, Karlsson lost in a sudden death playoff to Lee Westwood at the St. Jude Classic. In 2011 Karlsson was again in a playoff at the St. Jude Classic, but lost again to Harrison Frazar.
Karlsson is a member of the “Champions for Peace” club, a group of 54 famous elite athletes committed to serving peace in the world through sport, created by Peace and Sport, a Monaco-based international organization.
Karlsson is known as “The Scientist” for his contemplative and analytical style of play.