Ames taking break to reflect on future

Stephen Ames, of Canada, watches his tee shot on the first hole during the first round of the...

Stephen Ames, of Canada, watches his tee shot on the first hole during the first round of the British Open golf championship at Royal Lytham & St Annes, northern England July 19, 2012. (REUTERS)

CHRIS STEVENSON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:39 PM ET

LYTHAM ST. ANNES, ENGLAND - Stephen Ames has reached the crossroads of his career.

The 48-year-old Calgarian missed the cut Friday at the British Open after a three-over par 73 and now he is starting to focus on getting ready for the Champions Tour -- for which he will be eligible when he turns 50 in April 2014.

Ames is assessing all aspects of his career, including his relationship with coach Sean Foley.

He plans to remain on the PGA Tour through 2013 -- and beyond if he plays well enough to keep his card. If not, he's readying to move to the senior circuit, where, given his fitness, he should do well.

He said he'll return home to Canada and play the RBC Canadian Open next week and then probably will take the rest of the year off to ponder his future.

"One more week and I'm done, thank God," Ames said. "I think I'm really tired. I have a lot of thinking to do. Go back and see. I'm not in FedEx (the tour playoffs). I'm really contemplating taking the year off after the Canadian Open and going from there.

"I think I'm going to be doing some hiring and some firing, too. A lot of things are going to be changing because things aren't working well right now."

He said he's is letting caddie Don Donatello go -- they likely would have parted anyway if Ames sticks to his plan of ending his season next week.

It would be sad should Ames quit working with Foley, since the former brought the latter to the PGA Tour. Through his relationship with Ames, Foley got to know other players and grew his stable to the point where he is now a hot coach, working with stars such as Tiger Woods and Hunter Mahan.

Ames said he needed more attention from Foley than the instructor could give him right now. They've worked together only about seven times this season.

"That's understandable," Ames said. "He has gone in a different direction, which is great for him. But if he can't spend with me the time that I need, I've got to find someone else.

"Stuff happens, right? It's not to say it's personal or anything.

"I just need time (with an instructor) and I'm seeing that more and more. I've seen that this year more than anything else."

Ames' best finish this season has been a tie for 16th at Mayakoba in Mexico, the event opposite the Masters week. He has missed the cut in 10 of 16 events, although he did play on the weekend at last month's U.S. Open, tying for 68th.

At the British Open, Ames finished at seven-over with rounds of 74 and 73.

"Conditions were horrific, bunker-wise," he said. "Some had sand, some were mud. Some were under water. It was very inconsistent."

With little wind and soggy conditions, some holes were cut in tough spots on the Royal Lytham course.

"They had to, it's too benign out there," Ames said.

Then, with his typical candour, he added: "No wind, soft conditions so they're going to do everything that they can to protect the golf course so they are going to do stupid things, which is typical of either the USGA or R&A."

chris.stevenson@sunmedia.ca

twitter.com/CJ_Stevenson


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