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Karlsson out of Open; Svoboda in

NEW YORK -- Robert Karlsson of Sweden, the No. 1 player in Europe in 2008, has withdrawn from next week's U.S.
Open because of an eye infection, organizers said on Friday.

Karlsson, who tied for fourth in last year's U.S. Open at
Torrey Pines, has been struggling with depth
perception in his left eye, according to his manager.

The 39-year-old has been replaced in the Open field at
Bethpage Black by American Andrew Svoboda.

A nine-time winner on the European Tour and the first
Swedish player to clinch the circuit's Order of Merit title,
Karlsson pulled out of last week's Wales Open because of an
inner ear infection.

"I just can't play," he said at the time. "I've had
this for quite a while so I am going to take some time off
before the U.S. Open.

"My balance is out and I can't see the lines, I just don't
see anything. I'm struggling big time with my balance on my
short game. When the ball's standing up a little in the air,
I've no idea where it is."

Karlsson's consistency set him apart from the rest on the
2008 European Tour as he piled up eight top-three finishes,
including victories at the Mercedes-Benz Championship and the
Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.

He flourished in the majors with a tie for eighth place at last
year's Masters, a tie for fourth at the U.S. Open and a tie for seventh at the British Open.

This season, however, Karlsson has recorded only one top-10 finish
in eight starts, a tie for fourth at the Dubai Desert Classic in
February.