Calgary’s Stephen Ames looked as if he was nicely shaking off the effects of a disappointing 2011 season by his standards.
Going into the final round of the Sony Open in Hawaii, Ames was tied for eighth at eight under, but a five over 75 took him out of contention. He’ll need to shake that one off, just as he says he’s shaken off last season.
Approaching his 48th birthday, Ames says he still has the desire to compete at the PGA Tour’s top level, so he doesn’t have time to dwell on the negative.
I had a chance to chat with Ames before he opened the season at the Sony. Here’s that Sun Media column.
Some would call it selective memory, but Calgary’s Stephen Ames prefers to think of it as forward thinking as he shakes off a 2011 PGA Tour season that didn’t live up to his standards.
“It’s all a blur,”said the four-time PGA Tour winner, who kicked off 2012 at the Sony Open in Hawaii, where his opening three rounds were strong with scores of 67-68-67 putting him within four shots of the lead, along with Brantford’s David Hearn, going into yesterday’s final round.
However, Ames found himself in trouble early, recording four bogeys on his first six holes to drop out of contention in Hawaii. After a birdie on nine, he bogeyed 15 and 16 for a five over 75 to finish three under for the tournament in a tie for 46th.
He isn’t likely to dwell on that disappointing finish yesterday, just as he won’t obsess on his 2011 season.
In 22 events last year, Ames made the cut in a dozen and finishes 139th on the money list. The season wasn’t totally devoid of highlights with two top-10 finishes, including a tie for third in Puerto Rico in March.
“I haven’t actually put my finger on what actually happened. I didn’t play well. Forget about it. I think it’s something similar to life. In other words, are you going to continue talking about the bad things, or are you going to start thinking about the positive things?” said Ames.
“I never really dwell on the negative things. I never have,” he said.
Ames, who turns 48 in April, could bide his time for a couple of years when he would be eligible for the Champions Tour, but he says that’s not an attitude he wants to take.
“The biggest thing, I guess I’ve looked at is is my desire still there, which it is, if I want to continue working, if I still enjoy it, all those things. I kind of had to look down deep inside to see if I still enjoy it and I do,” he said.
It’s the nature of the game to constantly present obstacles, said Ames, but scaling those barriers successfully isn’t accomplished exclusively on the golf course. Analysis is the key over dwelling on the negative.
“My putting was probably the worst part of my game. That’s the part that really went backwards and I fooled around with it for quite awhile,” he said.
It didn’t work, so I went, `Well, I could go back to my old stuff,’ but getting back into the old stuff didn’t work. It took me a while,” said Ames.
Ames also says his iron play wasn’t in peak form last year, but he believes a change in shafts in his clubs towards the end of the 2011 season will help this year.
He’s also been working with Dr. Craig Davies, director of fitness and nutrition for the Core Golf Academy, for the last year and says what he’s been doing with Davies complements his work with Rob Connelly of Verve Golf in Calgary.
Unlike a year earlier when Ames was coming off back problems, he says he felt great physically at the end of the season, which put him about a month-and-a-half ahead of schedule in his off-season training.
“I’m still going to work as hard as I can. At this stage of my career, my biggest thing is, obviously, going to be my health, making sure that I stay as healthy as I can,” he said.
FIRST OF FOUR FOR AMES
Ames will also be at this week’s Humana Challenge in La Quinta, Calif., the second of four consecutive events that he’ll play to kick off the season, concluding with the Waste Management Phoenix Open in Scottsdale, Ariz., the first week of February. David Hearn of Brantford, Ont., will also be at the Humana … A new Canadian Tour event for Gananoque in Eastern Ontario is expected to be announced officially at a press conference on Thursday.
WHAT COUNTS? CREDENTIALS OR NATIONALITY?
Objectors to the hiring by Golf Canada of Tristan Mullally of Ireland as women’s national team coach insist there had to be a Canadian who could have filled that role, but nobody ever names that mystery Canuck. All things being equal, it’s logical to assume Golf Canada would prefer a coach from this country, but his international experience with the Irish Ladies Golf Union apparently put Mullally over the top, so it isn’t a reflection on Canadian coaches … The PGA of Canada was aware of the hiring of Mullally before last week’s announcement and didn’t object … Nobody in this country complained when Canadian Denise Lavigne, who coaches LPGA Tour rookie Maude-Aimee LeBlanc was named coach of the Swiss national team a couple of years ago and they shouldn’t have, but it’s funny the way that works, isn’t it? … Just as Habs’ coach Randy Cunneyworth promised to learn French in that debate about language over credentials, Mullally has said he will seek PGA of Canada certification in this debate about nationality over credentials … Mullally replaces Derek Ingram of Winnipeg, who was named men’s coach in September. Robert Ratcliffe of Comox, B.C., was named men’s assistant coach, while Ann Carroll of Mississauga was named women’s assistant coach … If you believe the coach of a Canadian national team should be Canadian, then shouldn’t the coach of a women’s team be a woman? Just saying.