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July 12, 2007

Graeme Storm


MICHAEL GIBBONS: Well played. How was it playing with Mr. Mickelson?
GRAEME STORM: Yeah, it was awesome. I was quite nervous the start of the day. Obviously he's a big player to be playing with, you know, and obviously I'm hitting a few good drives now, so it was fun.
MICHAEL GIBBONS: Was he approachable?
GRAEME STORM: Oh, very much so. He's an absolute gentleman on the golf course and he was quite interested to find out where I was from and we were chatting about that, just different things in general; and we were talking about football and he was just tell me different stories and it was good.
At the 9th, our last hole, obviously he was in there close, so I had to hole out to match him, and, yeah, it was amazing.

Q. Does that explain your reaction when you holed for birdie to match him on the last?
GRAEME STORM: Yeah, it was just good obviously to finish on the same score as Phil and what have you. It's just nice to be out there with him.

Q. Was there anything that you saw that sets him apart from others?
GRAEME STORM: Yeah, when he hits a bad shot, he doesn't get too flustered. He just gets on with the game. Other things like a shot that he played into No. 6, his third shot, he was under the tree and he was in the rough. He had to like bump-and-run it about 80 yards, 90 yards to get it on the green and he got it to like four or five feet. It was a world-class golf shot.

Q. What teams does he follow?
GRAEME STORM: I think he said San Diego. I think that's -- is that right? So he was just telling me that he is big into his football.

Q. He said he knew you had won?
GRAEME STORM: Yeah, he did. He congratulated me going down the 10th which was nice of him. Him and his caddie were really good. Obviously it was Johan playing with us today and I've known Johan for a long time, since the Challenge Tour days, and it's always nice to play golf with him, too.

Q. Can you talk about the difference between playing with Mickelson and playing with Cabrera last week?
GRAEME STORM: I'm not sure really. It just the fact that, you know, teeing up alongside one of the top 5 players in the world -- I played with Angel Cabrera last week and he's so relaxed and what-have-you, and he doesn't speak much English. So it was a little bit more different last week.
This week, you know to, play with somebody like Phil, obviously you learn a lot and even though I've been playing well, I didn't want to sort of embarrass myself really I suppose. I suppose it's along those lines. So it was nice to put in a great performance.

Q. Just how nervous were you teeing off?
GRAEME STORM: I was nervous on the first tee. And then I actually calmed down straightaway. You know, I hit a good tee shot, good second shot. You know, I was last to putt and I had a chance of a birdie and my round started really good. I hit a bad tee shot on 13 and made birdie on the 14th and just carried on from there really.

Q. Have you played with some of the big names before and what were you expecting?
GRAEME STORM: Yeah I've played with Ernie Els and Retief Goosen in Abu Dhabi this year. Obviously there's going to be a lot more media and TV coverage on Phil because he's come over to play the week before The British Open. Obviously the crowds, as well; the crowds are going to be a lot larger.

Q. Did you notice if he was having trouble with his wrist?
GRAEME STORM: No, I didn't know anything about it, never once said anything or never looked like he was in pain or anything like that.

Q. Was there something that definitive that happened to you to make the step up you have recently?
GRAEME STORM: I don't know really. It's a tough question. Obviously the last four years, I've just been getting better and better, I suppose. I think it's all about believing in yourself. I didn't really believe enough in myself on how good I can play. And the last couple of years, I've been knocking on the door trying to win tournaments and getting on leaderboard quite frequently.
Six months ago, I was putting quite a lot of pressure on myself thinking, how am I ever going to win. I just thought from there, it's just all fell into place really. I can't really give you an answer why or what the full reason is. It just fell into place in France and since then, I suppose I feel more relaxed, a lot more relaxed and just enjoying it.

Q. What did the win in France do for your confidence?
GRAEME STORM: Like I said I've been playing well a couple of years now and I just don't think I was believing in myself enough to say that I could win. I mean, I was leading the Spanish Open last year and I said something like that, you know, if I don't win, I'd still be happy to finish Top-5 or Top-10. But you know, I'm getting on the leaderboards now, and I'm just starting to believe that I can win tournaments. And winning in France was a massive boost for me on such a good and quite a tough golf course. It just proves that I can play at the highest level.

Q. Going back to Phil, he said he was hitting very specific shots with The Open in mind -- did you notice shots he was hitting -- and was there anything you thought yon could learn from him?
GRAEME STORM: Straight off he hit like a cut drive down the 10th, which to be honest is probably the perfect shot for him. You know obviously for me it would be a drive, it's perfect for me that way.
Yeah, he hit lots of shots, lots of shapes, high, low, as well. But basically, he just fitted it into the shots that he needed to do at the right time into the flag, you know, and it was awesome to watch really, to be able to watch somebody not really change that much; to actually shape the ball right-to-left and left-to-right, and obviously the short game, everybody knows about that. I really didn't get to witness that much, maybe tomorrow or over the weekend if I get to play with him.
Yeah, you learn a lot from people like that.

Q. Do you feel now that you deserve to be playing alongside the best players?
GRAEME STORM: Yeah, I mean, obviously after winning in France and the draws I'm getting now and the way I've been playing, yeah, I suppose I do deserve to be playing with the bigger names of the game, and long may it continue.

Q. Now that you are playing at that level do you think you will feed off these great players?
GRAEME STORM: Yeah, without a doubt, yeah. Obviously you're playing with players you can learn from. Most of the guys, the big names, they are all nice guys. So they are easy enough to play with, to talk and what have you and you just get on with it. Obviously when you're playing with people like that, you feed off it. And like today, we both fed off each other really and both finished on the same score.

Q. Dyson and Dougherty have been open and honest about not dedicating themselves enough in years gone by - was that ever a factor for you?
GRAEME STORM: Well, I think I've been quite dedicated anyway. I do take time off when I'm at home. Just put the clubs down and won't see them for a few days. And if I'm off for a couple of weeks, I probably won't see them for a week and just do things with my wife, do the general, see family and friends and do general things.
Dedication-wise, I would say I'm as dedicated as most people.

Q. I think they were basically saying the were out enjoying themselves too much...
GRAEME STORM: Fair enough. I've been down that road to be honest. In 2001 when I first came out, I was enjoying it. It was fun to have a couple of drinks on a Tuesday night with the boys. But then you wake up the next morning, you've got a little bit of a bad head and you can't really practice Wednesday properly. Those days are gone, but you learn from your mistakes I suppose.
I'm not saying I did that a lot but there's certain weeks where maybe I had a couple of drinks like everybody else, but the drinking culture or whatever you want to look at in the game is gone. The days of the drinking culture when the guys from 10, 15 years ago, they all enjoyed themselves more than maybe dedicated themselves, are gone. All in all, I'd say I'm as dedicated as anybody.

Q. What was the reaction at home after your win in France?
GRAEME STORM: Obviously just get more coverage and people ringing up, but didn't really have time to see many people because I was only home -- I only got home on the Monday morning and I was away the following Tuesday lunchtime. So obviously I had to change my flight and things like that, so I just did normal things. Did the odd phone calls and interviews really.

Q. Have you ever worked with a sports psychologis)?
GRAEME STORM: Yeah, I've seen different psychologists. I'm not saying I've seen guys like out on Tour like Jos and what-have-you but I've seen quite a few and it's not really my thing. It's just complicated too much. My coach, Ian Rae, he's been fantastic over the last few years, and if I have any sort of queries along those lines, I can maybe speak to him about it.
But there's been talk that I might be going to see somebody along those lines, but more of a sporting environment rather than somebody outside of sport. But that hasn't materialised yet and just waiting to see what happens. But at the moment, I don't -- like I said, I just don't want to be complicating it all and everything just seems natural.

Q. What sort of advice?
GRAEME STORM: I was just given the advice that maybe it's good to speak to those sort of people. So I did do a little bit but it's like I say, it's just not really my thing. I get more information, like I say, from my coach and the best feedback is by hitting good golf shots, and that's when you start visualizing and seeing properly what sort of shots you've got to be playing. So, you know, if you play well, you don't need to see anybody else really.

Q. Didn't your mum caddie for you?
GRAEME STORM: Yeah, she did she caddied for me in the Masters and the Walker Cup, and when I played as an amateur in the Dubai Desert Classic. She did quite a bit. The reason why, she was pulling the trolley and what-have-you was I couldn't drive at the time and she would like ferry me about because my dad couldn't drive. So just made sense when it came around to the big tournaments, it made it a bit easier for me.
And then obviously getting into so far down for the British amateur, semifinal or final, she pulled the bag and it was perfect reward really that she got to caddie in the Walker Cup, and obviously first one to do it in the Masters. People say, well, maybe you should have gotten a professional caddie. But really, at the end of the day, we were there to enjoy ourselves and that's what we did.

Q. What's her name?

Q. Did you feel you needed a professional caddie at the Masters?
GRAEME STORM: No, not really. What I did at the Masters, was I took a local caddie up to Wednesday and we went from Thursday onwards. I did all of the yardages myself anyway so I didn't need anyone else to tell me that or club me. Basically just having somebody close to me on the golf course I could chat to, because obviously a hell of a lot of people.

Q. What about football did you talk about with Mickelson?
GRAEME STORM: He asked me what football team do I support, so I said Liverpool, which I do. No, I didn't tell him anything about Hartlepool -- I don't think he would have heard of them. It was his caddie that was more interested really.
I just told him that I went to America for the new year and went to New York and went to watch the Jets play before the play-offs and we were just chatting about that. That's when he was saying when he watches, when he gets time to watch the football games, he has like six screens or something in his family room, so he watches all the games at once. Pretty impressive.
MICHAEL GIBBONS: Can you go through your birdies and bogeys?
GRAEME STORM: The first hole, just hit a good drive down the middle, 235 yards into the wind, pitched it on the front and left it right in the jaws in the middle for an eagle and just tapped it in there.
The fourth, hit it to about eight feet I think, somewhere like that, eight to ten feet with a wedge. Made that.
6, I hit lob-wedge in to about 12 feet I would say, 35 yards, something like that and made that.
The 9th, I missed a fairway and got a scrubby sort of lie and just decided to chop it forward to the front edge of the green and managed to hole it from there. Pin is on 12 yards, so it was sort of 35 feet, something like that. That was a nice way to finish really.
14, I hit mid-wedge in to about six feet, but I hit the flag with my second shot. One bounce, hit the flag and spun to about six feet, which was almost kind really because it could have hit the flag and gone further down the green. So that got the day started really.
18, hit a great drive and perfect 6-iron in to about 15 feet and rolled it in down the hill.
MICHAEL GIBBONS: Thanks very much.

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