|Canadian Stephen Ames is getting set for the upcoming U.S. Open. (JOE SKIPPER/Reuters file photo)
SAN FRANCISCO - The lone Canuck at this week's U.S. Open is feeling better about his game these days.
The 2012 campaign hasn't been one to write home about for the 48-year-old from Calgary. He failed to earn a paycheque in seven of his last nine events, but he believes he's starting to get into a good rhythm.
"I'm not playing too bad, actually," Ames said after playing eight holes Tuesday morning. "I changed a few things. Sean (Foley) is obviously been helping with that, and I'm trying to get the upstairs part working a little bit better, unfortunately. But overall the golf swing is not bad at all."
The mental game is always the toughest part of golf. One day you feel great, the next not so much. Ames said he has been thinking too often about the actual swing instead of just swinging the club.
"I'm trying to be quieter," he said. "There's a lot of stuff going on up there, unfortunately. It's hard to push out. I'm still thinking too much golf swing rather than playing golf.
"It looks a little bit like how Tiger looked at Augusta. Does that make sense? Because he looked very mechanical. That's how I feel sometimes. Just go out and play. It's gotta be a little bit more natural."
Ames has a new caddie this year in Don Donatello, the former Big Break competitor, and the relationship is working well.
"He knows the golf swing," Ames said. "A lot of caddies out here don't know the golf swing. He knows where it's supposed to be. It's helped. He's been a tremendous help."
Ames has played the Lake Course just four times, but he's a big fan of the hilly layout.
"Good golf course. Great golf course, actually," he said. "We don't get to play golf courses like this every day, unfortunately.
"It's obscenely very simple to build, unlike the rest of some of the golf courses that are being built today. It's simple. It's right in front of you.
"Is it that tough to build something as easy as this? Oh, apparently it is, because the guys who have done it have big egos."