Ames Captures First Title at Western

By Sports NetworkJuly 4, 2004, 4:00 pm
Cialis Western OpenLEMONT, Ill. -- Stephen Ames posted a 1-under 70 Sunday to notch his first PGA Tour victory at the Cialis Western Open. He finished at 10-under-par 274 and beat Steve Lowery by two strokes.
Luke Donald (67) and overnight co-leader Mark Hensby (73) tied for third place at 7-under-par 277, while Stuart Appleby (72) and Geoff Ogilvy (73) shared fifth at minus-6.
Tiger Woods, a three-time winner who titled here last year, never mounted a final-round charge. He shot an even-par 71 and tied for seventh place with Davis Love III (68), Carl Petterson (69) and Jim Furyk (71). The group came in at minus-5.
'I just couldn't get it close,' said Woods, who nearly missed his first cut in 126 starts on Friday. 'I needed to give myself a lot of looks and I did. Unfortunately they were from 20, 30 feet on every hole. You know, that's fine if you're leading the tournament, but I wasn't leading the tournament.'
With Woods in striking distance of the lead, Ames used steady play on Sunday to secure his first PGA Tour title.
Ames shared the 54-hole lead with Hensby and ran into trouble early in his round. He bogeyed the third hole, but no other player on the leaderboard was going low due to swirling wind and the tough conditions at Cog Hill.
Ames got into a tie for first with a spectacular iron shot at the par-3 12th. He ran home the 6-foot birdie putt to join Lowery in the lead, but trouble loomed for Lowery.
Lowery hit an awful drive short and in the left rough at the par-4 13th and walked off with a double bogey. He fell two behind the pace Ames was setting.
At the par-5 15th, Ames reached the green in two. He two-putted from close to 50 feet for birdie and a three-shot lead at 10 under par. Ames' margin look threatened at the 16th hole. He drove in the first cut of rough and missed the green with his second. Ames chipped to 10 feet to stay at minus-10.
Lowery made it interesting with a birdie at the 17th hole. He now trailed by two, but drove into a fairway bunker at the last and looked like he might fall into a tie for second. Lowery sank a 7-foot par save to polish off a round of 1-under 70.
Lowery also earned a spot in the British Open in two weeks thanks to his high finish in this tournament.
'I wasn't thinking about the British Open thing at all,' admitted Lowery. 'I knew if I made that I'd be sole second, so I was happy to knock that putt in. I didn't try to qualify at Congressional and I wasn't planning on going. I had already committed to tournaments over here. I'll probably withdraw out of some of these tournaments and go play the British Open.'
Ames stood on the 18th green with another birdie opportunity. His 35-footer stopped a foot from the hole but no matter. Ames secured the victory and took the $864,000 first-place check.
'For me, it was emotional,' said Ames, a two-time winner on the European Tour. 'I had to hold tears back and stop thinking ahead of myself. Overall it was very emotional for me.'
Ames, the lone player on the PGA Tour from Trinidad & Tobago, picked up PGA Tour victory No. 1 at the age of 40. The last player to collect his first tour win at the age of 40 or older was Brad Bryant at the 1995 event at Disney World.
'I'm not given the recognition of my career, on what I've done, because the sports in Trinidad are cricket and also soccer,' said Ames. 'I think a lot of things are going to change.'
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    Singh's lawsuit stalls as judge denies motion

    By Rex HoggardJanuary 23, 2018, 7:54 pm

    Vijay Singh’s attempts to speed up the proceedings in his ongoing lawsuit against the PGA Tour have been stalled, again.

    Singh – who filed the lawsuit in New York Supreme Court in May 2013 claiming the Tour recklessly administered its anti-doping program when he was suspended, a suspension that was later rescinded – sought to have the circuit sanctioned for what his attorneys argued was a frivolous motion, but judge Eileen Bransten denied the motion earlier this month.

    “While the court is of the position it correctly denied the Tour’s motion to argue, the court does not agree that the motion was filed in bad faith nor that it represents a ‘persistent pattern of repetitive or meritless motions,’” Bransten said.

    It also doesn’t appear likely the case will go to trial any time soon, with Bransten declining Singh’s request for a pretrial conference until a pair of appeals that have been sent to the court’s appellate division have been decided.

    “What really should be done is settle this case,” Bransten said during the hearing, before adding that it is, “unlikely a trail will commence prior to 2019.”

    The Tour’s longstanding policy is not to comment on ongoing litigation, but earlier this month commissioner Jay Monahan was asked about the lawsuit.

    “I'll just say that we're going through the process,” Monahan said. “Once you get into a legal process, and you've been into it as long as we have been into it, I think it's fair to assume that we're going to run it until the end.”

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    Videos and images from Tiger's Tuesday at Torrey

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 23, 2018, 7:45 pm

    Tiger Woods played a nine-hole practice round Tuesday at Torrey Pines South, site of this week's Farmers Insurance Open. Woods is making his first PGA Tour start since missing the cut in this event last year. Here's a look at some images and videos of Tiger, via social media:

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    Power Rankings: 2018 Farmers Insurance Open

    By Will GrayJanuary 23, 2018, 6:59 pm

    The PGA Tour remains in California this week for the Farmers Insurance Open. A field of 156 players will tackle the North and South Courses at Torrey Pines, with weekend play exclusively on the South Course.

    Be sure to join the all-new Golf Channel Fantasy Challenge - including a new One & Done game offering - to compete for prizes and form your own leagues, and log on to to submit your picks for this week's event.

    Jon Rahm won this event last year by three shots over Charles Howell III and C.T. Pan. Here are 10 names to watch in La Jolla:

    1. Jon Rahm: No need to overthink it at the top. Rahm enters as a defending champ for the first time, fresh off a playoff win at the CareerBuilder Challenge that itself was preceded by a runner-up showing at Kapalua. Rahm is perhaps the hottest player in the field, and with a chance to become world No. 1 should be set for another big week.

    2. Jason Day: The Aussie has missed the cut here the last two years, and he hasn't played competitively since November. But he ended a disappointing 2017 on a slight uptick, and his Torrey Pines record includes three straight top-10s from 2013-15 that ended with his victory three years ago.

    3. Justin Rose: Rose ended last year on a tear, with three victories over his final six starts including two in a row in Turkey and China. The former U.S. Open winner has the patience to deal with a brutal layout like the South Course, as evidenced by his fourth-place showing at this event a year ago.

    4. Rickie Fowler: This tournament has become somewhat feast-or-famine for Fowler, who is making his ninth straight start at Torrey Pines. The first four in that run all netted top-20 finishes, including two top-10s, while the last four have led to three missed cuts and a T-61. After a win in the Bahamas and T-4 at Kapalua, it's likely his mini-slump comes to an end.

    5. Brandt Snedeker: Snedeker has become somewhat of a course specialist at Torrey Pines in recent years, with six top-10 finishes over the last eight years including wins in both 2012 and 2016. While he missed much of the second half of 2017 recovering from injury and missed the cut last week, Snedeker is always a threat to contend at this particular event.

    6. Hideki Matsuyama: Matsuyama struggled to find his footing after a near-miss at the PGA Championship, but he appears to be returning to form. The Japanese phenom finished T-4 at Kapalua and has put up solid results in two of his four prior trips to San Diego, including a T-16 finish in his 2014 tournament debut. Matsuyama deserves a look at any event that puts a strong emphasis on ball-striking.

    7. Tony Finau: Finau has the length to handle the difficult demands of the South Course, and his results have gotten progressively better each time around: T-24 in 2015, T-18 in 2016 and T-4 last year. Finau is coming off the best season of his career, one that included a trip to the Tour Championship, and he put together four solid rounds at the Sony Open earlier this month.

    8. Charles Howell III: Howell is no stranger to West Coast golf, and his record at this event since 2013 includes three top-10 finishes highlighted by last year's runner-up showing. Howell chased a T-32 finish in Hawaii with a T-20 finish last week in Palm Springs, his fourth top-20 finish this season.

    9. Marc Leishman: Leishman was twice a runner-up at this event, first in 2010 and again in 2014, and he finished T-20 last year. The Aussie is coming off a season that included two wins, and he has amassed five top-10s in his last eight worldwide starts dating back to the Dell Technologies Championship in September.

    10. Gary Woodland: Woodland played in the final group at this event in 2014 before tying for 10th, and he was one shot off the lead entering the final round in 2016 before Mother Nature blew the entire field sideways. Still, the veteran has three top-20s in his last four trips to San Diego and finished T-7 two weeks ago in Honolulu.

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    Davis on distance: Not 'necessarily good for the game'

    By Will GrayJanuary 23, 2018, 6:28 pm

    It's a new year, but USGA executive Mike Davis hasn't changed his views on the growing debate over distance.

    Speaking with Matt Adams on SiriusXM PGA Tour Radio, Davis didn't mince words regarding his perception that increased distance has had a negative impact on the game of golf, and he reiterated that it's a topic that the USGA and R&A plan to jointly address.

    "The issue is complex. It's important, and it's one that we need to, and we will, face straight on," Davis said. "I think on the topic of distance, we've been steadfast to say that we do not think increased distance is necessarily good for the game."

    Davis' comments echoed his thoughts in November, when he stated that the impact of increased distance has been "horrible" for the game. Those comments drew a strong rebuke from Titleist CEO Wally Uihlein, who claimed there was "no evidence" to support Davis' argument.

    That argument, again reiterated Tuesday, centers on the rising costs associated with both acquiring and maintaining increased footprints for courses. Davis claimed that 1 in 4 courses in the U.S. is currently "not making money," and noted that while U.S. Open venues were 6,800-6,900 yards at the start of his USGA tenure, the norm is now closer to 7,400-7,500 yards.

    "You ask yourself, 'What has this done for the game? How has that made the game better?'" Davis said. "I think if we look at it, and as we look to the future, we're asking ourselves, saying, 'We want the game of golf to be fun.' We want it to continue to be challenging and really let your skills dictate what scores you should shoot versus necessarily the equipment.

    "But at the same time, we know there are pressures on golf courses. We know those pressures are going to become more acute."