The convincing win by Stephen Ames in the Tournament Players Championship (TPC) at Sawgrass shows what can be achieved by a man with a mission, a man needing to resubstantiate his manhoood on the golf course. Ames, who played the last eight holes in five under par to win by six a tournament in which many of tour's top players were shooting in the 80's, was not just playing to win, he was playing to vanquish.
Ames, humiliated 9 up with 8 holes to play by Tiger Woods in the World Match-Play Championships (Woods won each of the first nine holes), had been nicknamed "9&8" on the tour by his fellow players not only because Woods had pummeled him unforgiveably, but also because this occurred after Tiger had read that Ames had been quoted as saying that he thought he had a good chance to beat Woods because of the inept way Tiger was currently hitting the ball. Ames made a mistake by not keeping his mouth shut and he is sure not to make it again. It just goes to show the interesting variables that enter into the golf equation.
Obviously, having a monicker like "9&8" hung on a player on the pro tour was about as demeaning a status as one could imagine and it is clear that Ames was out to rectify that situation - there is no other explanation for this sudden demonstration of fabulous golf against a world-class field. The man had a mission, and he succeeded. He may never lose the "nickname", but in the future, it will be tinged with respect. Congratulations.
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