Hartlepool golfer Graeme Storm reveals the key to his success in 2017...
Graeme Storm is refusing to let the pressure of expectation get the better of him, despite a remarkable 2017 to date.
In his own words the Hartlepool golfer has had the kind of year dreams are made of.
Last year he lost his European Tour card, only to be reinstated, when Patrick Reed failed to make the tour requirements.
And taking full advantage Storm got this year off to a flyer, beating Rory McIlroy to the BMW SA Open title in January.
Since then Storm has gone from strength-to-strength, never having finished outside the top 38 when he’s made the cut this calendar year.
As well as that he’s risen to 19th in the European Tour Race to Dubai.
So what has been the key to his success?
Well, pressure, or a distinct lack of it, is what Storm pinpoints as a major turning point in his career.
“After the lows of last year and nearly losing my card this year has been like a one dreams are made of,” explained
“Everything, for me, is heading in the right direction.
“I have dropped in the order of merit, but that was to be expected.
“Anyway, this is not something I really worry about anymore.
“In the past I was guilty of setting myself too many targets. With that brings pressure and ultimate disappointment when you don’t quite earn that money, or hit that target, etc.
“I made a point of not setting myself any targets this year and so far it seems to be going well for me. So I am not about to set myself any targets now either.”
Storm is not back in action until the end of April, when he heads off for the Volvo China Open.
And while in years gone by his days off would be spent mulling over his next round, Storm says that this time he is ready to switch off and put his feet up.
He says he will use the time to help organise his second annual Junior Open, which takes place on Saturday, April 8, as well as spend some much needed time with wife Sara and children Grace and Oliver.
Storm said: “I have six weeks off from the sport and that’s what I intend to do - spend time off.
“In the past I would have been thinking about my next tournament in China for this full six weeks, but this time I am not.
“I can relax and spend some much needed time with the family, which I get very little chance to do apart from at Christmas.”
Storm hopes this year he can make his junior tournament, which is for boys and girls aged between seven and 18, bigger and better than last year.
It will again take place at Hartlepool Golf Club, with entrants to be registered, via www.graemestorm.co.uk by March 25.
Storm hopes that his performances on the tour, beating the likes of world star McIlroy can inspire the next generation to fall in love with the sport.
“The competition is really in its infancy but we want this year to be bigger and better than it was last year,” he said.
“For that reason we have made one or two changes to the format, which will hopefully improve the level of the competition, which was very high last year.
“Last year we had 132 kids involved, which was great, but this time we want more entrants. And we want the level of those entrants to increase, too.
“When I was around that age the game taught me so much.
“I will be the first to admit that I was not the most academic. I failed at that part.
“Golf was a real positive influence on me. It taught me people skills, how to socialise and talk to people.
“I have traveled the world, played in some amazing tournaments in amazing venues. I hope the children at this event can look and see that it is possible, with hard work and dedication, to make it in this sport.”