The two-time European Tour winner from Hartlepool shares his favourite places to play, his dream fourball and his favourite golfing memories
Ahead of his return to the European Tour this summer following a wrist injury, we got the chance to catch up with two-time European Tour winner Graeme Storm. As well as being one of the region’s most successful tour players, Graeme has invested a great deal of time into supporting golf in the region – through his growing series of junior events and his work with the Durham County Golf Union. Here’s what we learned during our most recent round with Graeme…
1 How do you spend your time at home?
I spend as much time as possible with my family. I really enjoy doing the school run, taking the kids to swimming club, piano and golf lessons – just spending as much quality time together as possible. When I’m on my own, I’ll watch Liverpool FC on TV and I try to get to a match as often as possible.
2 How did you get into golf?
My grandfather introduced me to the game when I was seven, firing balls at old worn out tyres on the practice area at Hartlepool Golf Club. I didn’t take it up properly until I had turned 11, when I got my first handicap of 36. Football was always my first passion but he encouraged me to pursue golf as a career and once I knew I wasn’t going to be a professional footballer, I turned my full attention to golf. From the age of 14 I concentrated solely on trying to be the best golfer possible.
3 Which is your favourite course in the region?
I’m sure there are some hidden gems which I still haven’t played and I hope to discover them before I retire. My heart belongs to where I grew up playing, Hartlepool, and I enjoy playing it to this day.
4 And further afield?
I have played so many great courses around the world and you always love the courses where you are successful. I’m no different so I would have to choose Le Golf National, where I won the French Open. It’s such a mentally demanding course. You don’t have to be the longest hitter but you have to be very accurate, which plays to my strengths. If I was pushed to choose one in the UK I would have to stick with my roots and pick a links course, so I’ll say St Andrews as I love the feel of the place.
5 What’s your best ever round?
My lowest round on the European Tour is a 62 on the west course at Royal Johannesburg. My best round would have to be when I shot 66 with no bogeys in the final round of the 2007 French Open to win.
6 Which is your favourite golfing memory?
Winning the British Amateur is right up there, plus it gave me entry into The Open (at Carnoustie) and The Masters (at Augusta National), which allowed me to fulfil a long-time dream of playing in two of the greatest championships in the world.
7 What about embarrassing moments?
I’m lucky that I haven’t had any real embarrassing moments as a professional… to-date.
8 Do you have any superstitions?
Just one; I like to use a ball marker my daughter gave me and it has two different messages on it. When I mark the ball, I will always put it down a certain side up depending whether I have holed a putt on the previous green.
9 What are your strengths on the course?
Most people say my main strength is my putting, I seem to hole the crucial putts.
10 And where do you focus your practice time?
I focus on the scoring part of the game as that’s where I believe you can get the most out of your practice. I always work on my scoring clubs, on the range and on the course, mapping out where I need to position my ball to make the best score possible.
11 Which is your favourite club in your bag?
I get asked this question all the time when I deliver Tri Golf sessions in schools. It has to be my seven iron as that’s the club I grew up hitting. To this day, I hit seven iron the most when I practice.
12 Who is your best golfing friend?
I have made a lot of friends over the years through playing golf and I actually wouldn’t say that I have a best friend on tour but there are a few I know I could always confide in and count on – Marc Warren, Simon Dyson and Justin Rose. If I ever needed help, I could turn to those guys.
13 Which event is your favourite on tour?
The Dunhill Links because we get to play with and meet so many different people. I’ve been lucky to play with the likes of Ronan Keating, Damon Hill and Sir Steve Redgrave to name a few.
14 Who is your favourite tour player?
My favourite player growing up was Bernhard Langer as I loved watching how he plotted his way around the course. I have met most of the greats of the game but the one lasting memory was when I played with Jack Nicklaus in a practice round at his tournament, The Memorial. It was a dream come true and I loved every minute of it.
15 Do you follow a lot of golf when you’re not playing?
Unfortunately I have had plenty of time to watch golf on TV due to my injury. I like to follow as much as possible and I managed to get to do some commentating last year at tour events and The Open, which was awesome.
16 Who do you admire?
My wife, Sara, for being by my side along every bumpy road. She knows I’m not the easiest person to live with when my golf isn’t going too well. I am truly grateful to have a very understanding, loving wife who has stuck with me through the highs and lows that golf can throw at you. I am the luckiest guy alive.
17 Which three people would join you in your dream fourball?
I change my mind on this one quite a lot. I’d have to have a Liverpool legend in their, so Kenny Dalglish would definitely be invited. Tiger Woods would be there as he’s a legend of the game and I’ve never had the chance to play with him. I’d invite Daniel Craig too – he’s James Bond and a fellow Liverpool fan.
18 If I could offer you a Green Jacket or a Claret Jug, which would you choose?
A really difficult one as I think any golfer would take any major. If I’m being pushed, I would have to say The Claret Jug as the Open is the one major I always want to play in. Just imagine having a chance to be called the Champion Golfer of the Year…