Robert Karlsson

Robert Karlsson (born 3 September 1969) is a Swedish professional golfer who has played on the European Tour and the PGA Tour and plays on the PGA Tour Champions.

Robert Karlsson
Robert Karlsson.jpg
Personal information
Full nameRobert Karlsson
NicknameThe Scientist, Robban
Born (1969-09-03) 3 September 1969 (age 51)
Katrineholm, Sweden
Height1.96 m (6 ft 5 in)
Weight95 kg (209 lb; 15.0 st)
Nationality Sweden
ResidenceCharlotte, North Carolina, U.S.
Turned professional1989
Current tour(s)PGA Tour Champions (joined 2020)
European Tour (joined 1991)
Former tour(s)PGA Tour (joined 2011)
Professional wins12
Highest ranking6 (19 October 2008)[1]
Number of wins by tour
European Tour11
Best results in major championships
Masters TournamentT8: 2008
PGA ChampionshipT4: 2011
U.S. OpenT4: 2008
The Open ChampionshipT5: 1992
Achievements and awards
European Tour
Order of Merit winner
Swedish Golfer of the Year2008, 2010
Swedish Male Athlete of the Year2008

Early lifeEdit

Karlsson was born in Katrineholm, Sweden where his father Björn was a greenkeeper at the local golf club. His family lived close to the golf course, just next to the practice green, were Karlsson spent a lot of time. The green was later officially named "Robert's green", written on a plate on a stone nearby.[2]

Amateur careerEdit

As an 19-year-old amateur in 1989, he became the sixth Swedish player to complete all four rounds in The Open Championship, achieved at Royal Troon Golf Club, at his Open debut, playing the last round with defending Open champion Seve Ballesteros and tying Ballesteros at 76th place and second best amateur after sinking a 3-yard putt on the last hole.[3]

The month before, Karlsson represented Sweden at the European Amateur Team Championship, at Royal Portcawl, Wales, and finished tied fourth individually with Peter McEvoy, England, in the stroke-play qualification competition.[4][5]

Professional careerEdit

He turned professional in late 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-20 of the Order of Merit seven times throughout his career and has won 11 events on tour.

With his win at the 1995 Turespaña Open Mediterrania in Spain, the 16th European Tour victory by a Swedish player, Karlsson became the 8th Swede to have won on the European 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 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.[6] 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.[7]

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 Pádraig 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 2008 European Tour Order of Merit, being the first Swedish golfer to do so. This achievement resulted in him winning Swedish Male Athlete of the Year Award at the Swedish Sports Gala in January 2009, also a Swedish male golfer first. After the 2008 season, he also received the Swedish Golfer of the Year award, male and female, for the first time of two during his career. He won the World Cup for Sweden with teammate Henrik Stenson in November 2008. The two of them finished second to United States at their try to defense in the event the year after and received The Team of the Year award at the Swedish Sports Gala in January 2010.

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 U.S. 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.[8] In June, Karlsson lost in a sudden death playoff to Lee Westwood at the St. Jude Classic.[9] In 2011, Karlsson was again in a playoff at the St. Jude Classic, where he lost to long-suffering veteran Harrison Frazar.

In May 2017, Thomas Bjørn selected Karlsson as his first vice-captain for the 2018 Ryder Cup,[10] and in September 2019 Pádraig Harrington did the same for the 2020 Ryder Cup.[11]

As Karlsson turned 50 in 2019, he became eligible for the PGA Tour Champions, and qualified for the 2020 season by finishing third at the PGA Tour Champions National Qualifying Tournament in December 2019.[12]

Karlsson is known as "The Scientist" for his contemplative and analytical style of play.[13][14]

Personal lifeEdit

Karlsson was 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, formerly based himself in Monaco and in 2010 moved to Charlotte, North Carolina, United States.[15]

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.[16]

In 2016, Karlsson supported the creating of a European Challenge Tour event at his old home club Katrineholm Golf Club in Sweden, Swedish Challenge hosted by Robert Karlsson. The tournament took place in 2016, 2017 and 2018.[2] In 2020, the tournament came back and was part of the Swedish Golf Tour and Nordic Golf League.

Amateur winsEdit

  • 1988 Le Peugeut Classic (France)[17]
  • 1989 Le Peugeut Classic (France)[18]

Professional wins (12)Edit

European Tour wins (11)Edit

Tour Championships (1)
Other European Tour (10)
No. Date Tournament Winning score Margin of
1 26 Feb 1995 Turespaña Open Mediterrania −12 (64-69-71-72=276) 3 strokes   Anders Forsbrand,   Miguel Ángel Jiménez,
  Jarmo Sandelin,   Sam Torrance
2 31 Aug 1997 BMW International Open −24 (67-67-64-66=264) Playoff   Carl Watts
3 24 Oct 1999 Belgacom Open −12 (69-68-69-66=272) 1 stroke   Retief Goosen,   Jamie Spence
4 22 Apr 2001 Via Digital Open de España −11 (68-68-71-70=277) 2 strokes   Jean-François Remésy
5 8 Sep 2002 Omega European Masters −14 (65-66-68-71=270) 4 strokes   Trevor Immelman,   Paul Lawrie
6 4 Jun 2006 Celtic Manor Wales Open −16 (61-63-65-71=260) 3 strokes   Paul Broadhurst
7 30 Jul 2006 Deutsche Bank Players Championship
of Europe
−25 (64-66-66-67=263) 4 strokes   Charl Schwartzel,   Lee Westwood
8 14 Sep 2008 Mercedes-Benz Championship −13 (67-69-68-71=275) 2 strokes   Francesco Molinari
9 5 Oct 2008 Alfred Dunhill Links Championship −10 (67-70-76-65=278) Playoff   Ross Fisher,   Martin Kaymer
10 31 Jan 2010 Commercialbank Qatar Masters −15 (68-70-70-65=273) 3 strokes   Álvaro Quirós
11 28 Nov 2010 Dubai World Championship −14 (65-75-67-67=274) Playoff   Ian Poulter

European Tour playoff record (3–3)

No. Year Tournament Opponent(s) Result
1 1992 Moroccan Open   David Gilford Lost to birdie on third extra hole
2 1997 BMW International Open   Carl Watts Won with par on third extra hole
3 2001 Victor Chandler British Masters   Mathias Grönberg,   David Howell,
  Thomas Levet
Levet won with birdie on third extra hole
Howell and Karlsson eliminated by par on first hole
4 2006 EnterCard Scandinavian Masters   Marc Warren Lost to par on second extra hole
5 2008 Alfred Dunhill Links Championship   Ross Fisher,   Martin Kaymer Won with birdie on first extra hole
6 2010 Dubai World Championship   Ian Poulter Won with birdie on second extra hole

Other wins (1)Edit

No. Date Tournament Winning score Margin of
1 30 Nov 2008 Omega Mission Hills World Cup
(with   Henrik Stenson)
−27 (65-67-66-63=261) 3 strokes   SpainMiguel Ángel Jiménez and Pablo Larrazábal

Playoff recordEdit

PGA Tour playoff record (0–2)

No. Year Tournament Opponent(s) Result
1 2010 St. Jude Classic   Robert Garrigus,   Lee Westwood Westwood won with birdie on fourth extra hole
Garrigus eliminated with par on first hole
2 2011 FedEx St. Jude Classic   Harrison Frazar Lost to par on third extra hole

Japan Golf Tour playoff record (0–1)

No. Year Tournament Opponent Result
1 2009 Dunlop Phoenix Tournament   Edoardo Molinari Lost to birdie on second extra hole

Results in major championshipsEdit

Tournament 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999
Masters Tournament
U.S. Open CUT
The Open Championship T77 T5 CUT CUT CUT CUT CUT
PGA Championship T65 T41
Tournament 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009
Masters Tournament T30 T8 CUT
U.S. Open T45 CUT CUT T4
The Open Championship CUT CUT CUT T35 CUT T7
PGA Championship CUT CUT T29 T57 T20
Tournament 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
Masters Tournament T43 T27 T50
U.S. Open T27 T45 T29 71
The Open Championship T14 CUT CUT T12
PGA Championship T16 T4 CUT T46
  Top 10
  Did not play

CUT = missed the half way cut
"T" indicates a tie for a place.


Tournament Wins 2nd 3rd Top-5 Top-10 Top-25 Events Cuts made
Masters Tournament 0 0 0 0 1 1 6 5
U.S. Open 0 0 0 1 1 1 9 6
The Open Championship 0 0 0 1 2 4 17 6
PGA Championship 0 0 0 1 1 3 11 8
Totals 0 0 0 3 5 9 43 25
  • Most consecutive cuts made – 6 (2010 Masters – 2011 U.S. Open)
  • Longest streak of top-10s – 3 (2008 Masters – 2008 Open Championship)

Results in The Players ChampionshipEdit

Tournament 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012
The Players Championship T6 T71 69 T26 T56
  Top 10
  Did not play

"T" indicates a tie for a place

Results in World Golf ChampionshipsEdit

Tournament 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012
Match Play R64 R64 R64 R64 R32 R32 R32
Championship T53 NT1 21 T11 T30 T31 62 T31 T20
Invitational T77 T62 T69 T20 T65 T17
Champions T34 T56

1Cancelled due to 9/11

  Did not play

QF, R16, R32, R64 = Round in which player lost in match play
"T" = Tied
Note that the HSBC Champions did not become a WGC event until 2009.

Results in senior major championshipsEdit

Tournament 2020
The Tradition NT
Senior PGA Championship NT
U.S. Senior Open NT
Senior Players Championship T14
Senior British Open Championship NT

"T" indicates a tie for a place
NT = No tournament due to COVID-19 pandemic

Team appearancesEdit



See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Week 42 2008 Ending 19 Oct 2008" (pdf). OWGR. Retrieved 20 December 2018.
  2. ^ a b Bakom kulisserna: När Challenge Tour kom till Katrineholm (in Swedish) 2016-11-24
  3. ^ Robban matchade Seve (in Swedish) Svensk Golf magazine 8/1989, p 40-41
  4. ^ Herrarnas EM (in Swedish) Svensk Golf magazine 8/89, p. 46-47
  5. ^ Jansson, Anders (2004). Golf – Den stora sporten [Golf – The Great Sport] (in Swedish). Swedish Golf Federation. pp. 189, 200. ISBN 91-86818007.
  6. ^ Week 40 – Robert Karlsson Breaks into the World Top 10 with Victory at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship Archived 10 October 2008 at the Wayback Machine – Official World Golf Rankings, 5 October 2008
  7. ^ "Players who have reached the Top Ten in the Official World Golf Ranking since 1986". European Tour Official Guide 09 (38th ed.). PGA European Tour. 2009. p. 558. Retrieved 16 January 2009.
  8. ^ "Sweden's Robert Karlsson wins Qatar Masters in Doha". BBC Sport. 31 January 2010. Retrieved 1 February 2010.
  9. ^ "Westwood, Karlsson and Garrigus in St. Jude playoff". Yahoo News. 13 June 2010. Retrieved 13 June 2010.[dead link]
  10. ^ "Robert Karlsson named as Vice Captain". Ryder Cup. 30 May 2017.
  11. ^ "Ryder Cup 2020: Robert Karlsson named as one of Europe's vice-captains". BBC Sport. 18 September 2019.
  12. ^ "2020 PGA Tour Champions Qualifying Tournament-Final Stage". PGA Tour. Retrieved 14 February 2020.
  13. ^ "After 2009, everything seems like a bonus". 16 October 2011. Archived from the original on 14 July 2012. Retrieved 30 January 2012.
  14. ^ "Clay Smith on Robert Karlsson". 10 November 2014.
  15. ^ Karlsson byter tour - efter 20 år i Europa by Johanna Mörtberg (in Swedish) Aftonbladet, 7 July 2010
  16. ^ Peace and Sport Archived 29 October 2016 at the Wayback Machine
  17. ^ "Seger i Frankrike också för Robert Karlsson" [Victory in France for Robert Karlsson too]. Svensk Golf. No. 6. June 1988. p. 106.
  18. ^ Histoire du golf de Prunevelle (in French) Golf Club Prunevelle
  19. ^ European Amateur Team Championship European Golf Association

External linksEdit