Storm has come a fair way

Professional golfer Graeme Storm is back to his best after beating World Number Two Rory McIlroy in the South African Open earlier this year.

Tees Life co-editor Martin Walker caught up with the former British Amateur Champion at Hartlepool Golf Club – where it all began…

TL: What do you love most about Teesside?

GS: I just love the feel-good factor of coming home. When I’ve been away on tour it’s nice to come home and see my family and friends. Hartlepool is home for me and it’s a great place to bring my children home. I’ve never lived anywhere else.

TL: What do you like to do when you’re not golfing?

GS: Spending time with the family – the wife, Sara, and our children Grace (8) and Oliver (5). Sara is a massive rock for me, we’ve been through thick and thin. She’s always been there. She helps me run the Junior Open at Hartlepool Golf Club and she also looks after my accounts. Football has also been a passion of mine, I’m a big Liverpool fan so I used to go to a lot of the games, so I follow their results, as well as Hartlepool’s, of course! My father and grandfather both played football at a decent level so it’s always been in my blood.

TL: How did you get involved in golf?

GS: Through my grandfather. He played football at an amateur level, he watched me play and I was kicked off the park. He just said to me ‘football’s not for you’. So he encouraged me to take up golf instead and I loved it. My game grew from strength to strength and by the age of 16 I was the England Boys champion.

TL: What has been your biggest or proudest achievement to date?

GS: There are probably three, really. Winning the British Amateur Championship in 1999 was my biggest ever achievement, it catapulted me from being a top amateur player into the professional ranks. And winning on the European Tour at the French Open was a huge achievement. But I’d have to say my proudest moment was beating Rory McIlroy in the South African Open this year. To beat him in a play-off, having not won for 10 years, and nearly losing my card last year, made it very special.

TL: What are your plans for life after professional golf?

GS: I want to grow the game on Teesside. I’m touching 40 now and you never know how long you’ll be playing the game professionally, so I am thinking ahead and what I’ll do when I retire, and youth development is something I’m really passionate about. We run the Graeme Storm Junior Open at Hartlepool Golf Club, and I’m also involved with Dyke House Sports and Technology College in Hartlepool as their golf consultant. I just want to be involved in junior golf – it’s how I started out in the game so I’d like to see others develop as well.