Ames got 'out of my own way' at the right time
Stephen Ames figured he might have passed a very large hurdle by winning his fourth career PGA Tour event this past Sunday – and not only because the win pretty much puts his 2010 schedule back into his own hands.
No, Ames, on the phone from his home in Calgary, suspects he might have passed a very large mental block by doing something he has never done before: State a goal and then go out and meet it.
“Right. I’ve never done that before,’’ Ames said of his Saturday night suggestion that he needed to shoot 64 Sunday to get into a playoff at the Children’s Miracle Network Classic at Disney World. “It’s something I have been trying to work on. Usually, with me, it’s a matter of me getting out of my own way. This is something I want to do, maybe put out a number, or a goal to think of, and then to just go out and let it happen.’’
If this sounds complicated, think of it this way: Ames’ physical game has always been stronger than his mental outlook. He has been a fine ball striker for a long time, but many is the time he walked off the course and said he didn’t have it between the ears. This time he did, winning the playoff over George McNeill and Justin Leonard.
His short game, which has been the main focus of his recent work with coach Sean Foley, paid off; he was getting up and down from everywhere and chipped in three times for the week.
Ames had fallen to No. 71 in the world before this win, which lifts him to No. 49 and makes a huge difference for him.
“Now I can pick and choose. It gets me back into the Masters, gets me into the World Golf Championship events,’’ he said. “It makes a big difference, without a doubt.’’
The Masters invites the top 50 world-ranked players at the end of the previous year, which means he should be in automatically for next April unless there’s some kind of dramatic shakeup at Dubai this coming weekend. He isn’t playing again until the Mercedes, the winners-only event that opens the season in Hawaii.
Ames and his family – and his 10-year-old son Ryan was there at Disney, walking the course with him – spend Christmas in Hawaii. He had planned the play the second week of the season, at the Sony Invitational, and now will play them both.
“I’m playing a lot early, ‘’ he said. “Now I’m in both tournaments in Hawaii, San Diego, Los Angeles, and I guess the (Accenture World) Match Play.’’
That tourney, a WGC event, is limited to the low 64 in the world rankings. He might have got to that point otherwise, but there’s no question about it now.