Ames forgoes preferred break to play Masters
Tuesday 28 March 2006
Not content with stunning the golfing world once by making the game's best look rather silly at the Players' Championship here on Sunday, Stephen Ames was at it again yesterday.
But if his six-shot victory in the "fifth major" stretched incredulity, then his revelation that he had almost turned down the chance to play in next week's Masters defied belief. The invite to Augusta is a supposedly glittering by-product of his saunter at Sawgrass, but this 41-year-old is not impressed. He wanted to go on holiday instead.
"I didn't have any plans of playing at Augusta," said the Canadian citizen who was born in Trinidad. "It was something I had to talk to my family about before I made that decision - with the kids and my wife. We are going to go [to the Masters]. I'd rather go on vacation, to be truthful. In the end I have listened to them."
After his spectacular triumph, Ames met up with his family in Orlando, where the reunion must have been emotional. Last July, his wife underwent an operation to remove half of her lung after being diagnosed with cancer. "It's been a difficult year," said Ames, who is of English descent through his father. "This was going to be a wonderful holiday home [to Trinidad] but their dad is now going to play in another golf tournament."
The Masters is not just "another golf tournament", although, in the light of his private life - not to mention the fact he now has a three-year exemption to play in the season's first major as well as the Open - Ames' apparent indifference is understandable.
There may be more to it, however, as although he insisted yesterday that he has nothing against Augusta, a few comments last month hint at a sizeable disaffection. Then the former European Tour regular lambasted the Georgia authorities for adding too much length to the course and "playing into the hands of the top players". He even went as far to imply that it had been specifically set up for Tiger Woods. Now that the newly-ranked world No 27 is a "top player", he has obviously seen fit to change his mind.
Latest in Sport
Arsenal transfer news and rumours: Gabriel Paulista sent to Paris to speed up move; Luis Suarez bid planned; Gunners eye Daniele Rugani
Chelsea vs Liverpool match report: Branislav Ivanovic seals classic semi-final with extra-time header to send Blues to Wembley
Gabriel Paulista: Talented Brazilian could grow into world-class defender at Arsenal
Andy Murray vs Tomas Berydch: Murray cool over reunion with coach Dani Vallverdu at the Australian Open
Transfer news live: Gabriel Paulista to Arsenal CONFIRMED; Juan Cuadrado to Chelsea; Liverpool close in on £14m Ezequiel Lavezzi
- 1 King Salman: Just five days in, Saudi Arabia's new king has already overseen a beheading
- 2 The BBC has just done more to eradicate ‘terrorism’ than all our wars since 9/11
- 4 Presidential optical illusion offers clues to how brain processes faces
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
French court convicts three over homophobic tweets, in case hailed as a 'significant victory' by LGBT rights campaigners
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures