x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Life lessons: Robert Karlsson

The Swedish professional golfer shares his life's wisdom.

The professional golfer Robert Karlsson shares his words of wisdom.
The professional golfer Robert Karlsson shares his words of wisdom.

The golfer Robert Karlsson was born in Sweden in 1969. He has won 11 European Tour titles and in 2008 became the first Swede to win the tour's Order of Merit. He will defend his crown in the season-ending Dubai World Championship beginning on Thursday.


1. Let yourself go. I found I would play well when I had fun on the golf course. So instead of focusing solely on becoming the best golfer in the world and then beating myself up when I didn't play well, I decided to try to have fun instead and the results got better.

2. Get the right perspective on what is happening. I sustained a serious eye injury in 2009, which meant I had no depth perception in my left eye. I had to take stock of my career to date and accept the fact that I might never be on top of my game again. I was off for several months, but kept reminding myself that I had won a lot of titles, and the Order of Merit, and that if I did nothing else, that was still a successful career.

3. Be thankful for what you have and don't be endlessly striving for what you don't have. Even if I play poorly and miss four cuts in a row, I still have my European Tour card and the prize money I have earned so far. Lots of players don't even get on the tour.

4. Always learn from things that happen to you. If something bad happens you can choose to be weakened by it, or to grow from it. I find the periods I am struggling are the periods I learn the most from. You can get bitter and angry, but a better way round is to realise that what doesn't kill you makes you stronger.

5. Have patience, and have faith that things will work out. Believe in your own ability. But also be prepared to work hard to improve. Have patience with yourself as a person. It takes time to change something like a golf swing, and you need to have patience and belief to do so.


As told to Helena Frith Powell

The Dubai World Championship runs from December 8 to 11 at Jumeirah Golf Estate.