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Sympatico Column: Ames' Win and Foley's Role

My latest column examines the role of Sean Foley in Stephen Ames’ win at Disney on the weekend. Given that many think I’ve been pretty hard on Foley — though I’m not sure that’s actually true — I’ll say I really enjoyed my hour-long conversation with him. I’ll post some of that conversation at a later point as most of it didn’t make the column.

Anyway, here’s a taste:

By the time Stephen Ames finished the second playoff hole at the home of Mickey Mouse on Sunday, he’d managed to turn a decidedly average year into a pretty solid one.

By shooting 64 on Sunday to come from out of nowhere to win the Children’s Miracle Network tournament for the second time, Ames vaulted himself back among the Top 50 golfers in the world and demonstrated once more that even at the age of 45, he’s among the game’s best ball strikers.
“This is like icing on the cake,” said Ames after the victory, which saw the outspoken Calgarian play loose, fun golf all the while accompanied by his 10-year-old son, Ryan, who walked inside the ropes with his father.
But it wasn’t just sweet frosting for Ames. As good as his year turned out, it’s been even better for his outspoken Canadian swing coach, Sean Foley. At one time Ames was by far Foley’s most easily recognized student. No longer. These days Foley, 35, has a couple of the best young golfers in the game “ Sean O’Hair and Hunter Mahan “ as disciples who seek out his take on biomechanics and the geometry of the golf swing. Others, including Justin Rose, Greg Owen and Parker McLachlin, as well as up-and-coming Canadian Chris Baryla, all turn to Foley for advice. With Ames, Foley was creating a cottage industry for his radical thoughts on the golf swing. With a dozen pros in his camp, and other junior players throughout Canada and the U.S. turning to him, these days that cottage industry is looking like a coaching empire.

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Robert Thompson

A bestselling author and award-winning columnist, Robert Thompson has been writing about business and sports, and particularly golf, for almost two decades. His reporting and commentary on golf has appeared in Golf Magazine, the Globe and Mail, T&L Golf and many other media outlets. Currently Robert is a columnist with Global Golf Post, golf analyst for Global News and Shaw Communications, and Senior Writer to ScoreGolf. The Going for the Green blog was launched in 2004.

9 CommentsLeave a comment

  • I recognize this does not have anything to do with your column. However, I have been following your blog for the last number of weeks and wanted to comment.

    I noticed weeks back that you made no mention of who might represent golf at the Olympics on the female side. That was unfortunate, as the last time I looked golf will have both a male and female representation. Perhaps you were unaware of that?

    I also noticed that you have been a consistent critic of Michelle Wie and particularly her handlers. Yet on the weekend that she wins her first LPGA event you failed to recognize or mention this achievement, depite the fact that it made headlines in much of the media. That is odd, as you took great pleasure in knocking her but you were not humble enought to admit that despite this young lady’s difficulties, she managed to achieve a remarkable victory at, still, a very remarkable young age, despite the considerable second guessing by media ‘non’ experts such as yourself. Why did you take pleasure in making crude comments about her ability and her career in the summer months yet now that she has matured and is playing some outstanding golf, you didn’t think it was worthwhile to recognize that? I would like an answer to that and I do think you should apologize to her.

    Also, I think the Executive Director of the NGCOA is correct. You are really a very shallow journalist. You seem to make your mind up without any real research, or imaginative thinking. Examples are listed above. I see no depth n your writing, or a balanced perspective of the issues in golf. Yours is nothing but slanted opinion, without depth or critical thinking, and no energy to research a topic. I noticed you like to photograhp golf courses. Perhaps your talent lies in photography, because it does not lie in writing.

  • Wow — the executive director of the NGCOA called me “shallow.” I missed that.

    As for Michelle Wie — what exactly am I supposed to apologize for? Do you have a cell # where I can reach her? Perhaps I could reach out to her parents as well, since they were the ones who ran her into the ground before stepping back and letting her simply play golf.

    And yes, it is a blog — so there’s lots of slanted opinion. More to come as well.

  • Samantha -chill with the whole defending Michelle Wie thing would ya?- everyone thinks the way the first 3-4 years of her golf career was handled was a joke- she was basically exploited to the max and the NIKE hype machine went to town with her whilke giving the world unrealistic expectations -which took her 4 years to recover from.

  • Samantha, you obviously arent a fan of golf or even understand how blogs work.
    First of all Wie and her entire situation are a joke. Second, blogs are opinion pieces.
    Please take a nap, take a pill and call us in the morning.

  • Interesting:

    Terry: “obviously arent a fan of golf or even understand how blogs work”

    Sorry Terry, but I think it’s pretty clear she is a fan of golf, but perhaps shes a fan of womens golf more than (or equal to) mens. Your sentence suggests that somehow there is a correlation between being a fan of golf and understanding how blogs work, so either your grasp of language is deficient or you don’t have a clue what you are talking about.

    The thing about blogs Terry, and 3 wood, is that they do offer a chance for people to post their comments and express their own opinions – so Terry – it would seem YOU are the one who doesn’t seem to understand how they work.

    Samantha was perhaps a little too aggressive in the way she went after Rob. But she was asking why he (and others) were sooo happy to write endless pieces about how bad everything about Michelle Wie was, yet once she started to turn the corner at the Solheim Cup and then to win an LPGA event – – – Silence……….
    She has a point. Many journalists enjoy kicking people while they are down, especially on the women’s golf side, as male journalists don’t seem to cover the LPGA until something negative happens.

  • I never wrote — nor was I happy — about “how bad everything about Michelle Wie was.” I did write that I felt she was being poorly managed by her parents and handlers, and that someone needed to take control of the wheel on her faltering career. Looks like that was IMG. My insiders say things with the Wie camp have really changed. I’d love to write about it — and I will — but I’ve been busy with a number of projects. Maybe that will be next week’s column.

  • Glad to see you are turning the corner there Rob.

    Has your question on whether he is a Wanker or Canadas top Swing instructor been answered yet? Or are you still on the fence?

    I disagree with Samantha there, she doesn’t need her kudos from every sport writer that doubter her. Everyone including Nike has given her plenty of that. The winning prize is enough in my books.

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