ABU DHABI // Robert Karlsson, having missed much of last season with an eye injury, has set his sights firmly on the capital with the view to dominating the field when the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship gets under way next week. The Swede, who won the European Order of Merit in 2008, missed four months of the season last year, but returned to finish brightly with a second place at the Omega Mission Hills World Cup alongside teammate Henrik Stenson in November.
The 40-year-old Swedish No 2 is keen to continue that form into the new year - beginning with a solid showing on the National Course. "Last year was tough and I didn't get to play nearly as much as I hoped to," he said. "I did have a strong end to the season and I want to keep building on that momentum in Abu Dhabi to start 2010 with a really positive showing. I've spent a lot of time during the break working on elements of my game, so hopefully it will pay off."
Before Mission Hills, Karlsson's best result on the European Tour last year was at the Dubai Desert Classic where he tied for fourth. His memories of the UAE are encouraging, but the 6ft 5in former Ryder Cup winner knows there are some equally imposing names set to arrive in the Emirates next week, including the European No 1 Lee Westwood and the two-time Abu Dhabi winner Paul Casey. "There are going to be some great players out there on the National Course all vying for top honours," he said.