Friday, April 07, 2006

Stephen Ames win The Players Championship, the "5th" major

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We began to hear about this transplanted Trinidadian golfer a few years ago, after he moved to Calgary and became a Canadian citizen, but he mostly flew below the radar. Mike Weir was the dominant Canadian golfer and his celebrity was cemented by winning the Masters in 2003.

Ames almost seemed to be best known for his attitude than his golfing skill with the media reporting that he was aloof, and arrogant rather than congenial like most pro goflers. In February at the Accenture Match Play Championship, Ames took a shot at Tiger Woods.

From the Golf Channel.
"Ames was on the practice range Monday afternoon when he was asked if he would take a carefree attitude into his match against the No. 1 player in the world because not many expected him to win. Ames shook his head.

"Anything can happen," Ames said, breaking into a big smile. "Especially where he's hitting the ball."

Ruthless to the end until his name was in the record books Wednesday, Woods won the first nine holes -- seven of them with birdies -- and closed out Stephen Ames as early as mathematically possible, 9 and 8."

It was the most lopsided loss in the eight-year history of the World Match Play Championship at La Costa.

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Even if Ames had a point with his comment, it was bound to get him in trouble with the media. It was only going to make Ames look bad and should have been saved for a private moment, if at all. Here's what commenter on the Score Golf website had to say:

"I agree, and even the Tiger comment was taken way out of context. I heard the interview, it was said in a joking type of way, and he went on to say how great a player Tiger is. My only problem with Stephen Ames is that he retracted his Tiger comments a few years ago, he is a 100% rights Tiger Woods is a total Brat and yet tour players are afraid to say it."

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Stephen Ames and Tiger Woods at the Accenture Match Play Championship

Ames demolished the most competitive field in golf two weeks ago at The Players Championship, which featured 48 of the top 50 players in the world. He won won $1.44-million (U.S.), a five-year exemption on the PGA Tour and an unexpected invite to the Masters, which is now down to its final two days. He won by shooting 5-under 67 to win The Players Championship by six shots.

``This is big,'' Ames said. ``This is characterized as the fifth major. I beat the top players in the world.''

"Except for the 10th hole, I played a flawless round," Ames said. "It felt like a walk in the park."

With a six-shot lead playing the final hole, Ames lived up to his name.

He took dead aim.

``Oh, you just had to go at it, didn't you?'' Robert Ames, his brother and caddie, teased him.

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According to Fox Sports, "Ames finished at 14-under 274, six shots clear of two-time U.S. Open champion Retief Goosen, who closed with a 69. The scoring average was 75.378, the second-toughest Sunday in Sawgrass history. Despite playing in the final group, Ames was eight shots better and had the best score of the day."

You often hear about golfers being "in the zone," when they are totally focused and are playing mistake free golf. Stephen Ames was clearly in the zone for the final round of the TPC tournament and it was spectacular sport to watch, especially when the best players in the world couldn't catch him.

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