I caught up with Stephen Ames for the first time since last year’s Canadian Open for a feature I was working on and also got him to talk about missing the Players Championship for the first time since he won it in 2006. Ames didn’t qualify this year and his exemption into the tournament has run out. Anyway, he wasn’t bothered by staying home in Calgary.
“No big deal,” was his response when I asked whether he was bothered by missing the tournament.
Ames went on to say it was nice to have won but he doesn’t separate bigger tournaments from less significant ones because it doesn’t help his mental approach to each event. He said every win was significant, regardless of where it occurs. It was an interesting perspective — and one that doesn’t surprise me coming from Ames, who is known for speaking his mind.
Ames’ remarks became the focus of this week’s Sympatico column:
With the tournament with what is arguably golf’s strongest field kicking off this week in Florida, Stephen Ames is hanging out at his Calgary home, away from the glare of the cameras and probing questions from the media.
Ames, who won the Players Championship in dramatic fashion in 2006, isn’t too bothered by missing the event. He had an exemption to play for five years after winning, but spotty finishes this year means Ames isn’t in the field or paying much attention.
“It is just another golf tournament,” he says.
It is hard to imagine Ames, who has become known for his honest, unfiltered commentary, isn’t bothered by missing the Players. It was at Ponte Vedra’s TPC at Sawgrass that Ames played what might be the best round of his long career. On a breezy Sunday he hit beautiful irons throughout the round to card a 5-under 67 and win handily. Many thought it was one of the best ball striking rounds in recent memory and was surely the biggest win for Ames won in a career that includes three other victories and more than $19-million in earnings.