Ames was shut out during Tuesday’s back half of the Telus World Skins Game at Glen Arbour Golf Course near Halifax, leaving the made-for-TV exhibition event with just one skin worth $15,000.
England’s Paul Casey finished with eight skins and $185,000 after winning a closest-to-the-pin tiebreaker shootout.
Venezuela’s Jhonattan Vegas was skunked on the back nine, but still cashed five skins for $85,000, while Sweden’s Carl Pettersson claimed three skins for $60,000 and Lucas Glover of the U.S. had the same haul as Ames.
While Pettersson made a bee-line from Halifax to Akron, Ohio, for the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club, Ames now begins a break from the sport that has made him rich and famous, something the 48-year-old four-time winner on the PGA Tour has been looking forward to since missing the cut at the British Open two weeks back.
“I think I’m really tired. I have a lot of thinking to do,” Ames told reporters after two rounds at Royal Lytham & St. Annes.
“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.”
The ‘firing’ part became big news, mainly because Ames employs Sean Foley.
The high-profile swing coach from Burlington, Ont., has been in the spotlight for his work with Tiger Woods, and with several other star pupils — Hunter Mahan, Justin Rose, etc. — on his roster, hasn’t had a lot of time to work with Ames.
Asked prior to the opening round at the RBC Canadian Open if he’d consider adjusting his schedule to co-ordinate with his coach, Ames admitted that wasn’t really an option.
“I wish I could if I played better,” he said.
“Then I’ll play the World Golf Championship events and all the majors.”
The Bridgestone Invitational is a WGC event, but Ames didn’t get an invite. He’s also not on the list for the PGA Championship or in contention for the FedEx Cup playoffs.
All told, he has survived only six cuts in 17 starts this season and hasn’t scored a weekend tee-time since the U.S. Open in mid-June. He’s earned only US$183,236 — leaving him 180th on the money list — and has slipped to No. 445 in the world rankings.
Ames is still assured a PGA Tour card for next season, so his primary focus in what has been a confounding campaign is finding his game.
“I’m not burned out. I’m just frustrated about the whole play,” he told reporters last week at Hamilton Golf & Country Club, where he missed the cut despite back-to-back rounds of even-par.
“The last two years have been frustrating in that respect. I’ve put a lot of effort and time and I’ve stuck to a lot of my routine — still working out, still staying fit. The body is not breaking down, but the mind is completely shut off, done because it’s thinking of 9,000 different things than it should be. And I’m hitting a lot of golf balls. I go home and I’m still practising a lot and not getting anything out of it.
“I still enjoy standing on the range and beating thousands of golf balls because I love the feeling, motivation-wise,” he added.
“Just on the golf course, I’m having problems with it. That’s all it is.”