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THE SECRET'S OUT
GARY VAN SICKLE
April 23, 2012
Carl Pettersson, a newly minted U.S. citizen, laughed all the way to a fifth career PGA Tour title at the Heritage
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April 23, 2012

The Secret's Out

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Carl Pettersson, a newly minted U.S. citizen, laughed all the way to a fifth career PGA Tour title at the Heritage

The new RBC Heritage champion does not defy description. Carl Pettersson did the honors himself as he slipped into the traditional winner's red-plaid jacket on Sunday. "Fat guy in a little coat," he said after winning by five shots.

Close enough. Most golf fans consider Pettersson a mystery man. The real mystery is, Why isn't this guy a much bigger star?

The victory was Pettersson's fifth on the PGA Tour. How about a little respect for a guy who may be one of the game's most identifiable golfers, thanks to his noticeable belly, and probably the best putter among those who use a long-shafted model? He's a heck of a ball striker (he shot a 60 while winning the 2010 RBC Canadian Open), he's routinely pleasant and, by the way, he's pretty funny. His lines killed at Harbour Town.

• On his third-round pairing with fellow heavyweight Colt Knost: "Two fat guys played in three hours, 48 minutes. That was pretty good."

• On a fitness kick in which a drop of 30 pounds led to his worst season, in 2009: "Never again."

• On how to regain all that weight: "Drink 10 beers and [eat] a tub of ice cream before you go to bed."

• On passing the test to gain U.S. citizenship earlier this year: "Only test I ever made a hundred on."

Pettersson, 34, has cross-cultural appeal. He was born in Sweden, moved to England at age 10, relocated five years later with his family to North Carolina and played collegiately at N.C. State. This prompted fellow Swede Jesper Parnevik to dub him "the world's only redneck Swede," a nickname the affable Pettersson embraces.

The fact is, Pettersson is a player to watch. The week before the Masters, at the Shell Houston Open, he opened his stance, enabling him to clear his left hip before impact. He finished a shot behind Hunter Mahan but without a Masters invitation, then followed up with the convincing victory at Harbour Town.

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