Ames Wins: "Not quite as easy as the TPC win"

It may not have had a lot of prominent names in the field, but it [photopress:ames_1_2.jpg,full,alignright]didn’t matter — Stephen Ames took the PGA Tour’s final event of the year yesterday in strong fashion. In fact, his final hole seemed a lot like Weir’s — coming into the green with a long club, hitting it into the bunker and getting up and down for par.

So two Canadians win in the same year — a first since 1957 as far as I can tell, when Balding and Leonard won.

Ames has a tendency to speak his mind and the press conferencethat followed was no different, including this revelation that he felt the win yesterday was harder than his win at the Players Championship in 2006:

AMES: Obviously it’s nice to be back in the victory circle. It was tough. It wasn’t quite as easy as the TPC win, but it’s a win. It was a grind coming down to the end there, and it was nice to be in that situation, because I wanted to see how my golf swing held up.

He also talked about the final hole — and I’m stunned he hit three wood. It was into a win, but still it is surprising:

AMES: The 18th hole here is 490 yards. There is no run off the ball. I hit a perfect drive up the middle, 285 off the tee, and I’ve got 214 to the hole, I go, “Yeah.” I hit a 3-wood.
Now it’s different with the new length, but there’s more pressure on you when you know you have to hit two good golf shots coming down to the end there to make par. You make it easier on yourself not having to have a bunker shot like I did at the end to do it, and that’s what made it tough.

Oh, and of course there were the requisite questions about Calgary and how it must be really cold there. No shock, this coming from a bunch of reporters at an Orlando tournament:

AMES: Oh, Calgary, yeah. It’s not cold, cold, but it’s getting there. I wanted to play well, hit the shots that I saw. I guess over all we wanted to work on the changes to get myself ready for next year. I came down here to work on my golf swing, and here I am winning an event, which is awesome.
Now we’re capable of knowing how to do the changes, and at the same time take it on the golf course and make it work for you. Not every day it feels great, and not every day you’re going to hit the ball great, but you have to figure out why you hit it left or right under certain circumstances, and this was the perfect one.

The win moved Ames up to 31 on the year end money list, a couple of spots ahead of Weir. He sat at 49 in the world rankings heading into the tournament and is sure to move up, but that list hasn’t been updated yet, at least not on

Lots of thoughts on this one:

  • First, how many Canadians will actually have witnessed either Ames or Weir’s wins — considering the relegation of the Golf Channel to some digital netherworld.
  • Who is actually the better player of Weir and Ames. Weir is younger and played terrifically for the last month of the year, while Ames had solid finishes at the PGA Championship and the U.S. Open. He’s 43, but every indication is that he’s getting better. Interestingly, in some ways they are similar players — neither is long off the tee, both are streaky and both win on tough courses under tough conditions. I have to give the edge to Ames at the moment.
  • Ames apparently decided to play at Disney because that’s where coach Sean Foley is based in the winter.
  • Speaking of Foley, is he the most notable teacher in Canada now? All signs indicate that’s a positive.

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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.

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