Notes Ames Wife Battles Cancer

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2005 PGA ChampionshipSPRINGFIELD, N.J. -- Steve Ames is having tough time at the PGA Championship.

In addition to handling the difficult Baltusrol layout, Ames has the added responsibility of caring for his two sons while his wife recovers from lung cancer surgery.

But Ames is willing to do whatever it takes to help speed his wife's recovery.

Stephen Ames
Stephen Ames is trying to keep focused on his golf while his wife recovers from lung cancer.
Jodi Ames was diagnosed with cancer three months ago and underwent surgery the Monday after the British Open. Doctors removed three-quarters of her left lung and her lymph nodes.

She's on the mend now in Canada, and her husband is doing the best he can to help.

'It's either continue to play golf and bring the kids with me, or I can go home and take the kids on vacation. Just to give her an opportunity to recoup, without the kids around,' Ames said after a second-round 72 that left him 1 under par at Baltusrol.

Ames said his wife needs plenty of quiet time to sleep and recover.

'She sleeps a lot some days, 12-13 hours at a time, which is what she needs to do,' he said. 'She's getting stronger by the day. I can hear it in her voice, too.'

Meanwhile, he's on the road with his sons and a nanny, trying to make the best of the situation.

Ames kept his wife's condition private until recently, telling only a few PGA Tour friends. But he carried the secret with him to the golf course and had trouble concentrating during rounds.

'It was tough,' he said. 'I did worry about the situation. Is she going to make the surgery? Is the cancer spreading? Is it more than they expected?

'And it was, 'Oh, boy, I have two young boys.''
 
Ames said it's been difficult having his sons on the road.

'It's hard, obviously, having two kids running up the wall,' he said.

He admitted concentration on the golf course comes a bit easier now that his wife is recovering.

'Today, my mind wandered a bit, but I was able to catch it a bit,' he said. 'In the past, it was very difficult to catch it.'
 
MIND GAMES
Lee Westwood took a drastic step to try to improve his play in the final rounds of tournaments. He's seeing a psychologist.

'I just felt like I wasn't thinking as clearly as I could do,' Westwood said Friday after a second-round 2-under 68 that moved him to 4-under. 'My last round scoring average has been very poor this year, and I didn't feel like I was playing any worse in the last round, just thinking a bit worse.'

The stats don't lie. Westwood's performance has dropped off in the final round of tournaments this year. Entering the PGA, his scoring average before the cut was 70.84. In the third round, it's 74.50, and in the final round it increases to 75.71.

Westwood is convinced his problems aren't mechanical.

'Technically, there was nothing wrong before that was causing me to shoot bad rounds in the last round.'
 
STAYING THE WEEKEND
Local club pro Darrell Kestner will play in the final rounds of a major for the first time after snapping a string of 18 missed cuts in the U.S. Open and PGA Championship.

Kestner, the head pro at Deepdale Golf Club in Manhassett, N.Y., had rounds of 72-70 for a 2-over total.

'Finally got over the hump,' Kestner said. 'After eight U.S. Opens and 10 PGAs, and at the age of 52. You would think it would have happened at an earlier age and on a different golf course.'

Kestner won the 2004 Senior Club Pro title and joins Bruce Zabrinski as the only winners of both the national assistant (1982, '87) and club pro (1996) championships.

Earlier this year, he was one of eight club pros to make the cut at the Senior PGA Championship, finishing tied for 31st. He tied for sixth at the Champions Tour's Long Island Classic.

DALY AT 17 -- DAY 2
John Daly played the 650-yard 17th hole as a routine par-5 in Friday's second round.

His drive found the fairway, and he hit a long iron layup before chipping within 15 feet. His birdie attempt from behind the hole skimmed the left side of the cup, and Daly made the 3-foot comebacker for par.

He shot a 1-under 70 and was at even-par 140.
 
In Thursday's opening round, the 1991 PGA champion scrambled to make par.

At the 1993 U.S. Open, when the hole was 20 yards shorter, Daly was the only player to reach it in two shots.
 
QUOTABLE
'It would be the biggest upset in the history of mankind for me to make it and Tiger not.' -- Manhassett, N.Y., club pro Darrell Kestner, who made the cut for the first time in 18 majors with a two-round total of 2-over 142.
 
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