Rikard Karlberg produced a stunning finish at the 2021 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open to catapult himself up the leaderboard and seal a place in the field for The Open Championship.
Rikard Karlberg, statements
“Right away when I saw that ball, like I have some stuff behind it but I know how to hit it and if I land it there – somehow it just popped in my mind to hole it and it went in. It’s just crazy, this game. I mean, I’m into the tournament because a few guys were on a flight from America and it was from that the UK, they had to quarantine. You get the opportunity and you take care of it and at times you feel bad for the other guys because it’s been really stressful this kind of thing we’re going through, even if we’re really happy with playing, it’s stressful. And so with that said, I’m so happy”.
Rory McIlroy talks after arrival in County Kilkenny yesterday.
“The last time I was on the 18th green here was that prize-giving ceremony. Tiger Woods won and I somehow sneaked my way under the ropes on to the back of the green. I was standing right behind him and his glove was still in his back pocket. I could have reached out and got it and ran, that would have been a good story to tell. Obviously I didn’t. It was the first time I’d seen him play live. I still remember the first shot I saw him hit, the drive at the 5th, a par five. He hit 2-iron into the green. It was so cool. I’d idolised him growing up and to actually see the man in the flesh was pretty exciting.”
“I’d made a bit of a name for myself as an amateur by then and knew Chubby (Chandler) and Darren (Clarke) so I was in the clubhouse and got to chat to Ernie when he won. It’s amazing to think it’s been 17 year. Certainly a lot’s changed for me since the last time I was here. I might as well play the Scottish as well. My original plan up until last week was us to come as a family, play here, take a week off, which is now the Scottish Open, and play the Open. With me being a sports person the restrictions are not as heavy for me as they would be for Erica and Poppy. I felt it wasn’t fair to put them through what they’d have to go through to be here with me. The plans changed very quickly and we made the decision I travel on my own. I wasn’t going to go back to the States for a week inbetween the Irish and the Open, so if I’m here I might as well play the Scottish as well. It went very quickly from them coming, to not coming and then me playing three events in a row! If anything, it’s probably worked out for the best. It’ll be nice to get a tournament on a links course before going into Sandwich. I didn’t play for a week because I was spending time with the family before being away. So I can now get to work here and in Scotland”.