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August 9, 2007

Graeme Storm


KELLY ELBIN: Graeme Storm, ladies and gentlemen, with a 5-under par 65 today is the leader in the opening rounds of the 89th PGA Championship at Southern Hills Country Club.
Graeme, congratulations on your first PGA Championship round, bogey-free round. Looks like you got off to a fast start and just kept it going.
GRAEME STORM: Yeah, I did thanks. It was just one of those rounds, really, when I never really thought about anything. I just kept on doing the things that I was trying to do, which was just enjoy myself.
And, yeah, I did get off to a fast start. I nearly had a hole-in-one at the 11th, which was my second hole. So 2-under through the first two holes is always nice.
KELLY ELBIN: Let's go through your card, birdies and bogeys, please.
GRAEME STORM: Yeah, starting from my first hole, the 10th, I holed a nice putt from about 20 feet from behind the hole, which is quite a slippery putt, so that was a nice start to start the day. Like I said, I had nearly a hole-in-one on 11 to about 6 inches, could have gone in.
13, hit a 2-iron to about 15 feet and left it short for eagle. So it was a nice birdie there.
And then 16, I hit an 8-iron to about -- I would say about eight feet behind the hole and rolled that one in, which was nice. It was quite a slippery putt.
The birdie at the second, I hit it in the trees off the tee to the right and just laid up short of the green and managed to get a lucky chip-in, really.
So, yeah, it was a great round.
KELLY ELBIN: Great, thanks. Let's open up for questions, please.

Q. I just caught a bit of your TV interview. Did you say this was the eighth week in a row you have played? I'm wondering, when did you get here, and you must be a complete zombie by now.
GRAEME STORM: Yeah, I won in France, and I had played the week before that. So, yeah, I mean, it's -- I am quite sort of tired. But obviously this is quite a buzz after shooting the score that I have done.
I shot 18-over par last week and I think that was down to being tired. I did try to enjoy it because I obviously knew that there was no cut and you had to play four rounds. But winning the French Open opened so many doors for me and to be able to play in the Open without having to go to a qualifier; to play in the World event.
And the reason I didn't play in Germany after the Open was because I wanted to play in the US PGA and I wanted to try to qualify to try to get into the Top-100 in the world. But my management group had asked for a special invite, which was greatly received from the US PGA and they said yes, we'd like you to play. So, you know, you can't turn that sort of thing down, and here I am on top of the leaderboard.

Q. You seem incredibly composed. Did you have any nerves out there?
GRAEME STORM: I haven't thought about it. I still have to tee off tomorrow morning so I'm quite lucky in that respect. Hopefully get a decent night's kip and see what happens. Like I say, I have not been playing well the last few weeks, shooting high scores. I thought, well, technique, just enjoy the moment and play golf. Enjoy it, that's what we're here for. (Laughter).

Q. The heat, what sort of impact did that have on you and how much does the experience of playing European Tour events in Asia help you in conditions like these?
GRAEME STORM: I think the conditions that we play in in Asia are a massive help to every European Tour player that's here this week.
You know, going out to Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, places like that, you get used to the intense heat and humidity, so that is a benefit for The European Tour to go that far afield and play in Asia, it's just the same sort of thing. I seem to play okay in Asia. I have quite a good record out there. So hopefully I can continue it over here.

Q. I wonder if you could tell -- you've struggled to get a card on The European Tour and you had to go back to Q-School several times, and can you also tell us about the cake factory?
GRAEME STORM: I was told I was going to get asked this again. (Laughing).
Yeah, I won British Amateur in 1999, and, you know, I got to play in the British Open and the Masters and I turned pro after the Masters and played a little bit on the Challenge Tour, a little bit on The European Tour.
Went to the Q-School and got my card straightaway. Didn't play that badly the following year. Finished third in Argentina, another Top-10 somewhere else and actually thought I had kept my card by the time the end of the season came. But unfortunately I just missed out, and then it just fell on and I didn't play well after that and just really struggled.
So like any normal person, really, I went to work and to try and piff for Christmas presents because it was over that time and also put some money together to try to play on the Challenge Tour the following year and what we have is the Euro Pro Tour, so I started back at the beginning, really.
I joined a different management group. That seemed to help a lot and yeah, just everything seems to be going the the right way now.

Q. Can you just tell us -- give us the time frame of that, and back to the cake factory, tell us about that.
GRAEME STORM: The end of 2002, I didn't play well at all. I had hardly made any money. I had split up with my management group, ISM, which was unfortunate, was in a little bit of debt. So like I said, I had to go work in a cake factory. I worked in that for about eight to ten weeks doing a normal job for the 148 pounds a week I think I was picking up.

Q. Were you making cakes?
GRAEME STORM: No, I wasn't. I was outside cleaning all the trays. No, I never got to do any of that.
It was just one of those things, really. You have to bite the bullet and go back and I was just being a normal person doing an everyday job, eight hours a day, and that was the way it was for eight to ten weeks and I went back to play on the Challenge Tour, a place called -- I went to Zambia, Lusaka (Golf Course), and shot 83-78 or something like that because I had not played at all over the winter and I didn't really know where my career was going to go. I thought that might be the end, to be honest.
Fortunate enough there, the coach that I'm still with now, Ian Ray (ph), he managed to turn it around for me. And from then, I'm here now.

Q. Just one cake factory follow-up, Stormy, if you don't mind. When you're working there, could you have seen yourself in this position leading a major?
GRAEME STORM: No. No, not really. Obviously you dream about playing in tournaments like this, but at the time I couldn't really see myself playing golf to be honest. I thought maybe go and play for pleasure or go back and play as an amateur, you know, to give me a kick in the backside that I really needed if I'm honest. Maybe I needed a taste, a bit of reality of what life's really about, and I think I came out the the right side. It's not just -- I'm not the only person to have struggled. Obviously it's well documented; Justin Rose struggled and I grew up with Justin and I knew the potential he had, so why not the potential for myself.

Q. At what point would you say recently would you have been comfortable with doing what you did in France, what you did today?
GRAEME STORM: Yeah, I mean, it was a bit of a surprise that I won in France. You know, I came from five shots behind or whatever it was, and it was a great feeling to be able to do it on such a tough golf course, you know. People keep saying to me, "You know, you've won on one of the best golf courses we play in Europe, so you should take a lot of positive from that."
Like I said earlier, I have not really had the time to reflect on winning in France and take it all in to be honest because I just kept on playing which has been a bit of a mistake but I am going on holiday after this week, so I'm looking forward to that.
KELLY ELBIN: For the record, the French Open was Graham's first win on the The European Tour.

Q. Unusual for the Brits to be asking the golf questions -- but when you say you never thought about anything out there, did you look at leaderboards, and had you seen any of the morning rounds and saw that players got off to fast starts and came back very quickly?
GRAEME STORM: Yeah, did I, I saw the leaderboards when I got here, I seen Tiger Woods was 4-under and Markus Brier, he finished 1-under, which was still a great round on such a tough course and a great tournament.
So, yeah, I was looking at leaderboards as you do out there. I don't believe people that say they don't look at leaderboards. I've tried not to look at them before but they are in your face and they are there and you've just got to keep doing what you're doing and just take what you get really.
You know, it's just nice to be obviously at the top of the leaderboard; whether it finishes there later on or not today, I'm not sure.

Q. On this leaderboard, there are a number of players who might be classified as working-class tour professionals and not elite names. Is that the product of a first rounds of a major or is it anything about this golf course that might level the playing field in that circumstance?
GRAEME STORM: No, I think you're probably right. It's probably just the product that it's just the first round of a major and everybody is getting a feel for the place. Obviously some people have dealt with it better than others and holed a few more putts than others.
But you know that over four days, Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, people like that are going to be there come Sunday. The longer you stay ahead of Tiger Woods, the better.

Q. This is supposed to be the deepest field of any tournament going; do you feel comfortable in this sort of company both on the course and off it?
GRAEME STORM: Yeah, I don't mind it whatsoever. Since I've won in France, I've played in some of the best groups I've ever had the chance to play. I played with Angel Cabrera and Paul McGinley in Ireland and I played with Phil Mickelson in Scotland. I'm getting to play with bigger names and obviously the right people to be playing with and I'm obviously going the right direction.
So, yeah, the more that that happens, the better for me.

Q. You've almost answered that question I was going to ask you, it was about playing in Scotland with Mickelson. I think you shot a 65, is that right, the first day?
GRAEME STORM: I did, yeah.

Q. Working with him in close quarters, did you learn anything from that experience?
GRAEME STORM: Yeah, obviously what I did learn is that obviously he was playing in the Scottish Open to play for the following week at Carnoustie. I know it didn't work out how he wanted it to, but you could see that he was practicing shots, hitting shots and what have you for the following week more than really to win at Loch Lomond even though he got into the playoff, and probably should have gone on to win.
But the thing that I did learn was that when he did make mistakes, he never got flustered. He just carried on with his game. Yeah, he's a hell of a nice guy to be fair. He was great play with and he was great with me and he knew a little bit about me, so that was great.
KELLY ELBIN: Thank you. Graeme Storm with a 65 and leading the PGA Championship.

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