Out of the Woods

ERIC FRANCIS -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 6:59 AM ET

It's one thing for Tiger Woods to turn a one-stroke final round lead over the most impressive field in golf into a route.

It's quite another for a 41-year-old Calgarian with just one PGA Tour win under his belt to do it on the heels of an off-year and the lowest moment of his career.

Bouncing back from his humiliating 9 & 8 match play loss to Woods a month ago, Stephen Ames pieced together a final-round 67 yesterday announcers called "one of the best rounds of golf seen in a long time."

Finishing the tourney first in driving accuracy and greens in regulation, Ames became the second oldest champion of the storied Players Championship with a six-stroke lead over 48 of the world's top 50 golfers.

Not bad for the world's 65th-ranked golfer whose home course all winter long is a dome.

Making it look so easy all weekend, the biggest challenge he faced came last night when he met his wife and kids in Orlando and had to tell them their Disneyworld holiday might be cut short thanks to an unexpected Masters invite.

Now more notes, quotes and anecdotes from a scribe who will scratch the eyes out of the next figure skater who drones on about how 'tough' the last week was:

AROUND THE HORN: The Calgary Hitmen opened the playoffs with the exact same arsenal the Flames will have for the post-season: With an MVP goalie, solid defencemen and a set of forwards unsure who will be able to provide scoring. Simply put, both teams will only go as far as their goaltender takes them ... A reminder to all athletes and coaches: Answering a question with "It is what it is," is pure gibberish ... This from Canadian figure skating legend Toller Cranston: "I always say, maybe I shouldn't have won the Olympics and maybe I shouldn't have won the worlds but I should have been given an honourary gold medal for my performances and my mouth off ice."

PARTING GIFTS: Translation of CFL commissioner Tom Wright's wordy press release after billionaire Eugene Melnyk said he wouldn't add a sad-sack Ottawa CFL team to his empire: "Pleeeease reconsider." ... No NHLer has had a bigger impact on his team's second-half fortunes than goaltender Kari Lehtonen who returned from injury in time to carry Atlanta back into the playoff race ... Kurt Browning after being inducted into the World Figure Skating Hall of Fame alongside the inventor of the Zamboni: "I want to thank Frank Zamboni for giving me great ice to skate on" ... You don't have to be able to name more than two Jays starters to appreciate hearing baseball on the radio and realizing spring is just around the corner ... Ho hum. Cindy Klassen picks up world records like the rest of us pick up milk or bread.

PARTING SHOTS: How seriously can you take a sport when a winner's press conference includes the following question: "You were wearing a new dress today -- can you talk about that?" ... Mike Peca suggested last week his future may not include the Edmonton Oilers next season. One question: How would anyone know the difference? ... Wonder where the Ottawa Senators came up with the playoff marketing slogan: 'Rev up the Red' ... You don't have to follow college basketball -- or even like the sport -- to appreciate the NCAA basketball tourney for being perhaps the world's most exciting sporting event ... Just wondering: Is there anything as pathetic as someone who gives himself a nickname? ... Those who ignored the World figure skating championships need to ogle, er, Google Finland's Kiira Korpi or Switzerland's Sarah Meier.


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