Swing does the talking

DAN TOTH -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 7:17 AM ET

It's an argument that can't be won or lost but is hashed over daily in clubhouses around the world:

Who are the 10 best golfers of all time?

Obviously, there's no definitive answer yet a handful of fairway legends belong on any knowledgeable golfer's list.

Sun sports writer Dan Toth asked Calgary's Stephen Ames, who has played professionally around the world, to offer up his all-time greats.

The native of Trinidad and Tobago, who gained his Canadian citizenship a year ago, has been fortunate enough to tee it up with a couple of the golf gods who earned a place on his honour roll.

Who Ames selected -- and why -- will be revealed in this special 10-part series.

In no particular order, here are the golfers Ames most admires:

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#1 JACK NICKLAUS

#2 BOBBY JONES

#3 BEN HOGAN

#4 BYRON NELSON

#5 WALTER HAGEN

#6 TIGER WOODS

#7 NICK FALDO

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NO. 7

NICK FALDO

Born -- July 18, 1957, in Welwyn Garden City in England.

Majors -- Masters (1989, '90, '96); British Open (1987, '90, '92).

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Nick Faldo never touched a golf club until he was 14 yet, within six years, he was competing in the Ryder Cup.

That's a credit to Faldo's sheer determination and will to win -- attributes that made him the dominant player of his era.

After establishing himself as one of the great young players in the world, Faldo stripped his swing to its bare parts and started rebuilding from the ground up until he developed the kind of machine-like precision that made him one of the world's best.

The process took some two years to complete but the results were undeniable.

In addition to his six majors, Faldo is renowned for his icy demeanor on the golf course, rarely speaking to his playing partners during a round.

"I played with him in 1996 when he was still in his prime," recalls Calgary PGA Tour star Stephen Ames.

"He was very icy, very cold.

"He was a golfing machine, without a doubt. He was a phenomenal ball striker.

"That makes him fun to watch but terrible to play with because he doesn't say very much.

"He isn't unfriendly. He just gets into his little shell and that was it.

"Then it's, 'See you later.'

"At the end of the round, you shake his hand. 'Thanks very much for the round.'

"There are still a few guys like that but not too many.

"That's just their way of playing the game and I get into that shell myself sometimes."

Faldo's cold countenance was never more obvious than during the final round of the 1996 Masters.

Trailing Greg Norman by six shots on the first tee, Faldo played one of the most flawless final rounds in major tournament history

to win his third green jacket.

Ames says the cold and calculating approach of Faldo and others is accepted as part of the game today, when millions of dollars are on the line every Sunday afternoon.

"I don't think players resent that because of how much we play for today," Ames says.

"If the other guy's approach doesn't affect you, then it's fine.

"I played a lot of times with him but I never got to know him. I don't think many people do know him, let's put it that way."

Ames suggests Faldo's precision under pressure in addition to his record in majors puts him among the best golfers of all time.

"It's because of his ball striking and they way he managed his game around the golf course," Ames says. "He was a phenomenal ball striker."


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