Last Updated on Saturday, 16 June 2012 15:58
Saturday, 16 June 2012 15:16
Stephen Ames Blows Up – And He Didn't Have A Great Early Saturday Round Of Golf Either
by Alfie Lau
Stephen Ames made the cut Friday night at the 112th US Open by making birdie on the 18th hole.
Turns out that he would've still made it with par, but doing what he did freed all of us Canadian media types the time to get our stories written and some time to enjoy all that San Francisco has to offer.
(I'm sure there are some sedate types who just wanted to sit around and read, but I may have partaken in some beverages along Market Street last night.)
I went to watch Ames as he teed off at 10:45 a.m. local time alongside Zach Johnson.
Ames, who had a back-row seat for Phil Mickelson's opening round by playing in the group behind Lefty, Tiger and Bubba, now had the front-row seat, with Johnson and him playing directly in front of Ames.
How did Ames do, you ask? Well, he's (+8) after his first eight holes and a total of (+15). It's going to be a fun post-round interview in a couple of hours, don't you think?
(One of my cubicle mates in the media centre said one question we might want to ask: "Is this worse than losing nine-and-eight to Tiger?" I told him he was on his own if he wanted to ask that gem)
It's too bad Ames won't be as good as he was Friday evening as he regaled us with post-round gems like these.
On the USGA, and in particular, them putting his group out behind Woods, Mickelson and Watson: "It's a bunch of amateurs running a professional event."
On playing behind Woods' group at the sixth hole: "Playing behind Tiger, it’s really tough. We stood up on the sixth hole, and we watched about 80 people trample up, all the way around the back edge of the green going to the next tee. Please. There are other people playing this event. And it is, in some respects, the USGA’s fault for allowing so many people to be following him."
On the USGA catering to Woods: "There are 155 other players out there." On what he did Friday before his round: "I've been forgiving the USGA all day."
Now before everybody gets all crazy about these Ames' quotes, the Calgarian always says these comments with a wicked smile on his face and a glint in his eye.
Perhaps he's 100 per cent serious on some of his comments, but he's a guy who isn't afraid to say what he thinks and isn't afraid which sacred cows he might be tipping over.
Canada's Stephen Ames Figures The USGA Should Limit How Many People Can Follow Tiger Woods At One Time. Good Luck With That
Ames said one solution for the Woods conundrum is to allow half the people to see him on select holes and the other half to see him on the other holes. How this could be accomplished, nobody knows, but Ames does think out of the box more than most golfers.
Which brings me to the state of Canadian golf. It's a running joke around U.S. Open media centres that us Canadians hang out in packs.
With Ames the lone Canuck in the tournament, that means Cam Cole, Dave Perkins, Bob Weeks and Cory Woron have to put up with me when we scrum Ames.
I was on a Northern California radio station talking about what's wrong right now and there was no easy answer. Mike Weir is struggling – or as Joe Namath would say, "strug-a-ling" – to even break 80. Ames, at 48, looks like he could be a monster on the Champions Tour in two years time.
Youngsters Graham DeLaet, Matt McQuillan and David Hearn are doing their best on the PGA Tour, but they seem to be always fighting to get into the top-125.
Looking back at some recent good performances by amateurs, it's disconcerting to see how James Lepp, Chris Baryla and Nick Taylor have not been able to translate university golf success into pro wins.
Lepp is now selling Kikkor shoes full-time, Baryla is making a name for himself on the Nationwide Tour and Taylor, once the top-ranked amateur in the game, is looking for his game to come around.
We got a chance to see Adam Hadwin make a run at the 2011 Canadian Open at Shaughnessy, but the Abbotsford native is now playing on the Nationwide Tour and hoping to get back on the PGA Tour.
I guess the short answer is that, as in life, Canadian golf is going through a natural cycle of ups-and-downs. Weir's 2003 Masters win and Ames' 2006 PGA Tour Championship were highs no Canadian golf fan could have expected. With both of them having pretty lucrative professional careers, nobody is crying for them.
Nor should we ask them to continue to carry the Canadian golf flag. It's time for the next crop to stand up and represent. So, to Nick Taylor, Adam Hadwin, David Hearn, Graham DeLaet and Matt McQuillan, there's no time like the present to do something memorable.
It's off to lunch – I had three Nestle Crunch ice cream bars for breakfast (and a leftover Bud from last night) so I'll refuel and make my way out for Woods - Furyk at 3:05 p.m. local time.
By Alfie Lau
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