TOUR professional GRAEME STORM continues his exclusive column for Golf North East ...
I'M just back to competitive golf again after a lay-off of more than two months.
I had planned to take some time off over the start of the winter and then the Christmas and New Year period, but I was pretty ill in November and much of December with a mixture of tonsillitis and a recurrence of glandular fever.
I first had glandular fever when I was 14 and then again when I was 21 or so and as the illness tends to return every seven or eight years I was due for another bout I suppose.
But I felt pretty bad at the start of the current season in November/December. Luckily, I had already decided not to go to the first events in South Africa and Australasia so I could both feel fresher for the New Year and also work on a few aspects of my game with my coach Pete Cowan.
Obviously I wasn't really able to do that as much as I had hoped but I was able to get down to where Pete is based at Rotherham to do some work.
It means my game is a bit up in the air right now and it will be interesting to see how I get on over the next few weeks.
My first event ended up being the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship, with the Commercialbank Qatar Masters and the Dubai Desert Classic to follow.
I was selected for the European team to play at the Royal Trophy in Thailand and was really looking forward to it but the event was postponed following the death of the Thai Princess Galyani Vadhana.
But that did enable me to go out to Dubai with Pete to do some more work. Sadly, it rained the whole time on and off.
I'm really looking forward to this season though.
I have deliberately opted to play in fewer tournaments this year, hoping I can avoid the feeling of burn-out that can creep up on you when you play week-in week-out combined with all the travelling there is around the world these days.
Also, my wife, Sara, is expecting our first child in April and so I'm building my playing diary around that too - I can't wait.