EUROPEAN Tour golfer Graeme Storm is looking to remain “positive” when the new season gets underway after learning valuable lessons over the past year.
The 36-year-old Hartlepool golfer jets off to the Middle East tomorrow ahead of next week’s Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship and he admits he is looking to put a frustrating 2014 behind him.
Storm retained his Tour card for a further 12 months after a year in which he claimed a lucrative second place finish at the Omega European Masters in Switzerland.
But it was far from plain sailing until an upturn in fortunes in September.
Storm has played in all of golf’s majors but he feared it was all coming to an end when he sat in 159th place in the European Tour’s Race to Dubai league otherwise known as the Order of Merit.
The league table is based on prize money won and Storm wasn’t picking up enough, but he managed to finish runner-up at the Omega European Masters in Switzerland before losing in a play-off with American David Lipsky.
He also won a BMW after a hole-in-one in his third round – although he won’t get his hands on the new motor until July.
Storm then followed that up with 12th place at the ISPS Handa Wales Open at Celtic Manor and 17th at the Portugal Masters to end the season on a high.
The 2007 French Open winner is now looking to carry that momentum into the new season.
Storm told SportMail: “It wasn’t a good year for me, up until September.
“So this year I want to start much better.
“I did almost win a tournament, but there was a lot of pressure going into the play-off and it was difficult managing my emotions.
“It was just one of those things but I have to try and take the positives from the year.
“I kept my card and got to play in the final series of the Tour – which looked unlikely at one stage.
“It looked like I would be going to Tour School [for those who finish outside the top 110 on the order of merit] rather than qualifying for Dubai.
“This year is all about trying to take all the information I gathered from last year and previous years where I have not performed as well as I should have done.
“I have been out on Tour a long time now, you will have peaks and troughs and I have had troughs the last couple of years but managed to scrape through.
“Now I want to push on and get my card done and dusted a lot earlier than last year.”
Looking ahead to the next 12-months the Poolie golfer insists his targets are always the same – to win.
Storm added: “The targets are always the same – to win a tournament – and I would like to get back into the winner’s circle.
“I will be looking to maybe play in the US Open again or the Open at St Andrews and push my world ranking and get into the top 100 in the world.
“It is all about taking one tournament at a time and not dwelling on it if I miss a cut.
“I missed too many cuts last year, pure and simple because I was dwelling on the fact I was missing them.
“I have to stay positive – that is the biggest lesson I learned.”
Ahead of the season’s curtain raising Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship, Storm said: “I am just getting re-started.
“I am not expecting major things or to go and win the tournament as there is a great field.
“But if I can go about my business and do my job right then there is no reason why I can’t contend and get my name on the leader board,” added Storm, who was named as the sports personality of the year at the Hartlepool Mail Sports Awards.