Twelve months ago, Graeme Storm’s career as a European Tour player wasn’t certain. A year later, following his best year as a pro since 2007, things couldn’t be more different.
“Looking back now, it’s been an amazing year,” says Storm having returned home to enjoy Christmas with his family ahead of 2018.
“I didn’t see it coming, particularly winning the tournament in South Africa, as well as having so many top 10s. You never know what is going to happen as a tour player. My focus when I was in contention this year was higher than it has been for a long time and psychologically I was in a much better place thanks to getting that second chance. I played with a lot more freedom having got a big kick up the backside.”
Storm’s win in South Africa in the first event of 2017, beating Rory McIlroy is a sudden-death playoff, elevated him from one of his lowest points into one of his greatest moments. Just 84 days after he had finished 111th on the Race to Dubai (before being pushed into the final full card spot thanks to Patrick Reed not fulfilling his membership obligations), Storm was a European Tour winner again – 10 years after his last win in the French Open.
As well as his win at the BMW South African Open, Storm recorded top 10 finishes in the BMW PGA Championship (T6), Portugal Masters (T3), British Masters (T4) and Nedbank Golf Challenge (T10).
“The results have all come from consistency over the four days rather than great days here and there. Competing on a regular basis and seeing my name on the leaderboard week-in week-out has given me so much confidence.
“Winning in South Africa was obviously the highlight, probably one of the biggest moments of my career. Winning the French Open in 2007 was huge but to win after everything that had gone on the year before and how long it’s taken to win again it stands out that little bit more.
“When I look over the full year, competing under such a big spotlight at Close House is also right up there. There’s a little bit of disappointment that I didn’t finish higher up there but to play in front of a home crowd was incredible.”
With a new outlook on his prospects for a much longer career as a European Tour player, Storm is far more relaxed and raring to get going – though he admits some things are still a little far from his grasp just now. “I’m in a much better place as I look to start out this season, with my game and mentally. I feel like a totally different player – filled with confidence that I can compete and win. I had massive doubts that I could do that again, 10 years without a win is a long time and the doubts had built up as to whether it was coming to an end.
“I don’t set goals and targets now. I did that in 2016 and it nearly finished me off. I now take each week as it comes and enjoy being a European Tour player. It’s worked out really well so I’ll be sticking with it. Saying that, some things do make you think a little bit. I was asked by the European Tour to be measured up for the Ryder Cup outfits having made the final event of the season. In 2015 I got to the Race to Dubai, went to the fitting and it was the biggest curse of my career.
“I’ve probably got quite a few Ryder Cup points but they’ve got no chance of getting me to do that again. I’ve spoken to Thomas Bjorn and told him I won’t be going. If I do get in, he can have my measurements straight away.”
Storm will begin his European Tour season in January with defence of his title in South Arica, January 11-14.