HARTLEPOOL golfer Graeme Storm admits he is “itching” to get the new season underway at tomorrow’s Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship, writes RICHARD MENNEAR.
The 36-year-old European Tour golfer knows the course well at the Abu Dhabi Golf Club and while he isn’t setting any targets he is looking forward to getting off to a strong start.
Storm, who flew out to the Middle East at the end of last week, tees off at 12.55pm tomorrow alongside Scott Jamieson and Renato Paratore.
“I have led the tournament after three rounds before so I know it well,” Storm told SportMail ahead of the tournament which runs until Sunday.
“It is a good starting point for me because I like the course whereas I am not so keen on the ones in Qatar and Dubai.
“If I start off well then hopefully I can progress and to be honest I am itching to get back out there on the course.
“After the end of last season I downed tools and stopped playing.
“I was going to the gym but got injured and had three weeks when I couldn’t do anything.
“It wasn’t a major injury, I just pulled something that I didn’t know existed but it was something that prevented me swinging the golf clubs through.
“That hampered my preparations a little bit but I feel fine now.
“I am not as strong as I should be but I am getting there and getting my focus back and doing the right things.
“Going away is beneficial to me as I can eat properly as well, that can be difficult when you are at home with the kids,” added Storm who is dad to two young children,
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.
The European Tour’s Race to Dubai league - otherwise known as the Order of Merit- 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.
The 2007 French Open winner 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.
Storm, a former Manor College of Technology student, added: “There are a lot of different areas of my game to work on.
“With me it has always been mentally.
“I have spoken to a few people who have changed my focus and outlook a little bit, with the aim of getting physically fit so I am mentally fit.
“That will help my golf swing and my game and I won’t feel as tired or as drained.
“I will be able to control my emotions as well a lot more.
“I am now looking to kick-on and get into better tournaments,” added Storm, who was named as the sports personality of the year at the Hartlepool Mail Sports awards.