Poulter penalty helps Karlsson win in Dubai
DUBAI, UNTED ARAB EMIRATES | Though
Martin Kaymer managed to shrug off Graeme
McDowell well before the end of the final day of
the Race to Dubai, Robert Karlsson’s winning
of the Dubai World Championship was gripping
to the last – and not the least because of the
unexpected twist in the tale.
He and Ian Poulter, both 14-under par for
the 72 holes, were playing the long 18th for a
second time in the playoff when Poulter, who
was 30 feet from the hole to Karlsson’s two feet,
dropped his ball on his marker.
The marker, a lucky platinum coin bearing the
names of his children, flipped over and, as per
Decision 20-1/15, it cost him a penalty shot.
To use the precise wording of the regulation,
“any accidental movement of the ball-marker
which occurs before or after the specific act of
marking is not permitted.”
The confidence Poulter
had previously felt about his
30-footer ebbed from his
system now that he only had
it for a five. He missed with
room to spare and, before
too long, Karlsson was tap-
ping in for the Dubai World
“It was not the way you
want to win,” said the
Swede, politely ignor-
ing the fact that even
as talented a putter as
Poulter would probably
have struggled with
his long putt in the fast-fading light.
Regardless of the ending, no one begrudged
the 41-year-old Swede his success after the
health problems he’s had since winning the European Tour Order of Merit in 2008. First, there
was retina trouble and blurred vision which
put him on the back foot regarding making the
Ryder Cup. Then, after he came back to win this
year’s Qatar Masters, he had a recurrence of the
glandular fever he suffered as a child.
Three shots off the lead overnight, Karlsson
opened birdie, birdie, eagle to find himself in the
lead. Slightly thrown, he had three three-putt
greens over the next four holes before a birdie,
birdie start to his homeward half put him back
in business. The last of his birdies came at the
18th where, as would happen both times in the
playoff, he hit his approach inside three feet.
Poulter, two groups behind, just failed with
the 15-footer he needed to win the tournament
outright. Meanwhile, Lee Westwood, who finished in a share of third place despite a trip to
the water at the 18th, did not give Kaymer any
chance of stealing his world No. 1 spot. Kaymer, for his part, said he has pulled out of Tiger
Woods’ tournament this week.
For the moment, he wants to soak up what he
has done but, already, he has a couple of goals for
2011 he is happy enough to share. The first is to
win another major, with the Open championship
the one he hankers after the most. When it comes
to the second and rather less serious of his twin
aims, the odds are not so good. He wants to make
what would be his first hole-in-one.
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