Two-time European Tour winner’s return to competitive golf delayed as he looks ahead to hosting a series of junior events this season
Graeme Storm has been forced to put his European Tour comeback on hold.
The two-time winner from Hartlepool has had further surgery on his wrist, ruling him out of a planned return to action in Abu Dhabi.
The January event would have been the first of 15 tournaments he will be able to play on a medical exemption, which was granted following the wrist injury and operation he went through last year.
The French Open and South African Open winner hasn’t played a tournament since he withdrew from the Trophee Hassan II in April 2018.
Graeme had been preparing for his 2019 return before the problem returned. “It just seemed to pop and it swelled up a lot,” he said. “It went down but I knew I had to go back and see the surgeon. He had to open it up, have a look and clean it out.”
That process meant putting his hand and arm in plaster, and postponing his return to action until May or June.
“It’s disappointing to say the least,” said Graeme. “I’d worked really hard on my fitness, lost some weight, put on some muscle and was feeling good. I’ve never missed the Abu Dhabi event since it started in 2006 and it’s disappointing to miss a Rolex Series event, which can pretty much guarantee your card if you play well enough.”
Graeme is now hoping to return in May for the British Masters and will be looking to hit the ground running as he aims to make it into the top 110 before the end of the year in order to earn his card for 2020.
He added: “I could still get my 15 events in. The worst case scenario would mean starting in June. There is also the possibility of playing five tournaments this year and keeping 10 for next year if I had to.”
Now 40, Graeme is hoping he can overcome this injury and make a successful comeback. “I still feel I have it in me to play golf at the top level. While I reckon I’ve had a successful career if I had to stop now, playing golf is what I do and I’m hoping that will continue.”
Meanwhile, the extended absence has given Graeme the opportunity to focus on preparations for this year’s Graeme Storm Junior Open and the Mini-Storm Series.
The Graeme Storm Junior Open, for players aged 11-18, will take place at Hartlepool Golf Club on Saturday April 27 while the Mini Storm event, for youngsters aged 7-10, is now a trophy series with tournaments in Durham, Teesside and North Yorkshire. The series opens at Rudding Park on April 20 before heading to Consett Golf Club on May 18 and Wynyard on June 15.
Graeme said: “The junior stuff is going well. Hopefully the Mini Storm Series will do well, it’s the first time we have tried it like this. We need to keep working on it and growing it every year.”
For more information and to enter go to www.graemestorm.co.uk/junior-golf