Ames says look out for Woods

WES GILBERTSON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:23 PM ET

Calgary’s Stephen Ames insists he’s never been in such fine form in mid-March, a development he credits to some quality time with swing guru Sean Foley and some sweat-drenched hours in the gym.

Perhaps that should serve as a warning to the rest of the golf world.

After all, a fellow Foley student named Tiger Woods just happens to be following a similar script.

“It won’t be long before Tiger is up there at the top again, winning. I’m sure of it,” Ames said. “It won’t be long. As soon as Tiger figures out how to settle down mind-wise — calm himself back down again like he used to — and find out where he stands with his feelings and all that, I think it won’t be long before he starts knocking on the door again.

“Beating our asses again.”

Woods won’t be teeing off at this week’s Transitions Championship at Innisbrook Resort in Tampa, Fla., where Foley spent some one-on-one time with Ames during Tuesday’s practice round.

Fresh off his best PGA Tour performance in 16 months at last week’s Puerto Rico Open, Ames had nothing but high praise for his swing coach, his fitness trainers, his sports psychologist and the rest of his support team.

The 46-year-old Ames tied for the tournament lead with 21 birdies last week in the Caribbean, posted the lowest score — a 6-under 66 — in Sunday’s final round to climb into a tie for third and, in his own words, “played well enough to win.”

“My misses are a lot better. I’m putting a lot better now, too. Overall, I think the whole package now is better,” Ames said. “It’s steadier. I’m closer to mid-year form at this time than I’ve ever been before. It’s just be patient and wait for it to happen.

“It looks like it’s going to be a good year, I hope.”

Ames is now in his fourth season as a student of Foley, whose stable of PGA Tour talent also includes Hunter Mahan, Sean O’Hair and Justin Rose. Woods has been working with the outspoken teacher from Burlington, Ont., for less than a year.

After a final-round 66 last Sunday at the star-studded WGC-Cadillac Championship at Doral, Woods assured reporters he is “definitely not going the wrong way” in his partnership with Foley, who has been the target of widespread criticism and second-guessing as his superstar client continues to seek his first win since his personal life unravelled in late 2009.

“You know, for some reason, I tend to get a little bit more scrutinized than most players do, analysed to the nth degree about what goes on within one round of golf,” Woods told reporters after a 10th-place tie at Doral. “That’s something that’s new to (Foley). He has not quite faced that, but he said one positive thing is I’m always on TV, which is good, so he gets to look at a lot of golf swings.”

In his work with Foley, Ames also spends a good chunk of time sizing up Woods’ swing.

Enough time to know the 14-time major champion likely hasn’t hoisted his last PGA Tour trophy.

“Sean shows me his swing and he shows Tiger my swing. There are aspects of each other’s swings that we are all trying to achieve and get to,” Ames said. “(Foley) has changed everybody’s swing drastically, but for the better. Everybody has become a much more solid ball-striker. Once you put your time in, I think the benefits are reaped out of it.”

Woods’ fans are waiting.

wes.gilbertson@sunmedia.ca

twitter.com/WesGilbertson


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