Yesterday’s World Golf Matchplay matches had several interesting facets. There was Tim[photopress:ames.jpg,full,alignright] Clark hitting a fairway wood into a hole while playing opponent Tiger Woods, who was hitting a 7-iron in the same hole, while Phil Mickelson made, by his count, six birdies and still lost to Justin Rose. Then there was Charles Howell III who simply took apart Sergio Garcia, who still can’t buy a putt. The way Howell is playing it wouldn’t be surprising to see him clash with Tiger Woods on the way to the final.
But the match that was perhaps most intriguing was Stephen Ames taking on Vijay Singh. Ames is a notoriously bad matchplay golfer, and has gone as far in the past as to say he wouldn’t play in the Presidents Cup because he doesn’t like matchplay or team golf. Apparently he only plays in the World Cup because of his brother — both play for Trinidad and Tobago.
The thing I’ve always enjoyed about Ames are his remarkably frank remarks in post-round interviews. Okay, I guess he’s frank in pre-round interviews as well, like last year when he claimed Hamilton was a “shitty” city just before the Canadian Open started. Anyway, he came off the course yesterday and as the Golf Channel’s on course commentator (either Jerry Foltz or Mark Rolfing, I can’t recall which) fired a bunch of questions. In true Ames fashion, he was frank, funny and appeared to make the interviewer a bit uncomfortable while making bug eyed expressions. Ames followed it up with this exchange that appeared in a newspaper account of his win:
“Exactly, I’m gone by Wednesday night,” he said. “Hell, when I passed the 12th hole I had to take a breather. I’ve never played so many holes.”
Ames is enjoying things even though he’s a little under the weather because of a lingering sinus condition. It’s not getting any better.
“Very little food, actually,” he said. “I’ve lost my appetite completely.”
But Ames may tighten up the happy-go-lucky bit.
“Maybe Sunday,” he said. “Top 64 in the world and you’ve got one guy to beat . . . and the way that one guy is playing, it will probably be him again.”
That would be Tiger Woods, who beat Ames 9 and 8 last year in the first round.
Another chance would be like Balboa vs. Creed.
“Well, he should be there,” Ames said of Woods.
“He’s the No. 1 player in the world. He’s playing well. He’s swinging well. He should be in that situation.”
Then the eyes widened and he laughed and said to reporters:
“Oh, boy, you guys would love that, wouldn’t you? That would be such a field day in the news.”
I’ve now watched enough Golf Channel coverage to come to the conclusion that Kelly Tilghman isn’t getting much better. She seems stiff, unable to deal with anything that is slightly off scrip and is a poor straight man to Nick Faldo’s weird funny guy. What’s with Faldo morphing into this odd British fellow who cracks the jokes? He was as serious as it comes when he was playing, but he’s an entirely different guy in the Golf Channel both. He also seems very fond of pointing out he’s the Ryder Cup Captain in 2008.
Anyway, I’ll give Tilghman some more time to evolve into the role, but right now she seems uncomfortable, and she’s been on air in the role long enough that this should be behind her.