Woods to Face Ames In First Round

By Associated PressFebruary 21, 2006, 5:00 pm
2005 WGC Accenture Match PlayCARLSBAD, Calif. -- Stephen Ames had his golf clubs shipped to Tucson, Ariz., last weekend so they would be there when he arrived for his next PGA Tour event.
 
One phone call changed everything.
 
Thomas Bjorn pulled out of the Match Play Championship with a recurring neck injury, and Ames was first in line to replace him in the 64-man field at La Costa Resort. One minute he was on his way to Tucson for a $3 million tournament, the next he was on the practice range getting ready for a $7.5 million World Golf Championship.
 
Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods will meet Stephen Ames in the first round of the WGC - Match Play Championship.
That was the good news.
 
As the No. 64 seed, Ames drew Tiger Woods as his opponent in the first round Wednesday.
 
Anything can happen, Ames said, breaking into a smile.
 
Especially where hes hitting the ball.
 
Ames knows better than most that the Match Play Championship is the most unpredictable tournament in golf, especially with the matches lasting only 18 holes'more or less'until the championship round Sunday. A year ago, he made his debut at La Costa Resort as the No. 19 seed and was beaten, 7 and 6, by Mark Hensby.
 
Hes not a big fan of this event, but he wasnt about to miss a chance at the $1.35 million prize.
 
You can get it going and knock out your opponent, or it can go the opposite way, Ames said as he hit balls on the range with only four irons at his disposal. It reflects on who plays well that day.
 
Ames and Woods both had short weeks at Riviera.
 
Woods, the No. 1 seed and a two-time winner of the Accenture Match Play Championship, withdrew from the Nissan Open after making the cut on the number because of the flu. It was the first time in his professional career he left a tournament early because of health reasons.
 
He showed up at La Costa at lunch, hit a few balls and played a practice round.
 
Ames played only one round at Riviera, then had to withdraw Friday morning because his caddie'Robert Ames, his brother'was too sick to work. Ames showed up at 6:30 a.m. that day looking for a caddie, but there was none available that suited his standards.
 
He spent the rest of the week in Santa Monica with his family, and was getting ready to go to Tucson when the PGA Tour called and told him he was in the field at La Costa.
 
Sergio Garcia previously said he would not play at La Costa, citing travel reasons. The world ranking that was published a week ago Monday determined the field, and while Craig Parry at No. 66 was one spot ahead of Ames, the Australian did not commit to the tournament.
 
Vijay Singh is the No. 2 seed and will open against Graeme McDowell. Singh has never advanced beyond the second round in this tournament.
 
Retief Goosen, the No. 3 seed, starts off with Paul Broadhurst of England, who hasnt competed in match play since the 1991 Ryder Cup at Kiawah Island.
 
Ernie Els made it to the semifinals in 2001 when the Match Play Championship was held in Australia, but he has not gone further than the second round at La Costa. After losing in 19 holes to Phil Tataurangi in 2003, the Big Easy skipped this event the last two years. He is back as the No. 4 seed, and faces Bernhard Langer.
 
Bjorns exit shuffled the first-round matches, although it didnt matter much to Charles Howell III. Instead of facing Els in the first round, he now gets Phil Mickelson, the No. 5 seed.
 
Howell simply was thrilled to see sunshine and green grass at a resort known lately as Lake La Costa because of so much flooding. A year ago, the tournament didnt start until Thursday because of rain that left small lakes in some of the fairways.
 
Its the first time I can leave my canoe in the locker, Howell said.
 
Despite its fickle nature, Howell looks forward to the Accenture Match Play Championship. Instead of beating 143 players, he only has to worry about six, even though he might not make it past the first one.
 
He has been knocked out of the first round the last three years, losing to Nick OHern in 19 holes a year ago.
 
That feeling leaving on Wednesday night is not a good one, Howell said. It feels like you missed the cut.
 
The defending champion is David Toms, who routed Chris DiMarco in the 36-hole match last year, nearly closing him out at the turn before winning, 6 and 5. One of his toughest matches was in the semifinals against Ian Poulter of England, whom Toms will face in the first round Wednesday.
 
Ames, meanwhile, keeps a backup set of clubs in the Nike trailer. His regular set was being shipped from Tucson, expected to arrive at 8 a.m. Tuesday.
 
Related Links:
  • Round One Match Ups
  • Full Coverage - WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship
  • Match Play Brackets
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    Five-time Open champ Thomson passes at 88

    By Associated PressJune 20, 2018, 1:35 am

    MELBOURNE, Australia – Five-time Open Championship winner Peter Thomson has died, his family said Wednesday. He was 88.

    Thomson had been suffering from Parkinson's disease for more than four years and died at his Melbourne home surrounded by family members on Wednesday morning.

    Born on Aug, 23, 1929, Thomson was two months short of his 89th birthday.

    The first Australian to win The Open Championship, Thomson went on to secure the title five times between 1954 and 1965, a record equaled only by Tom Watson.

    On the American senior circuit he won nine times in 1985.

    Thomson also served as president of the Australian PGA for 32 years, designing and building courses in Australia and around the world, helping establish the Asian Tour and working behind the scenes for the Odyssey House drug rehabilitation organization where he was chairman for five years.

    He also wrote for newspapers and magazines for more than 60 years and was patron of the Australian Golf Writers Association.

    In 1979 he was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for his service to golf and in 2001 became an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for his contributions as a player and administrator and for community service.

    Thomson is survived by his wife Mary, son Andrew and daughters Deirdre Baker, Pan Prendergast and Fiona Stanway, their spouses, 11 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

    Funeral arrangements were to be announced over the next few days.

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    Gaston leaves USC to become head coach at Texas A&M

    By Ryan LavnerJune 19, 2018, 11:00 pm

    In a major shakeup in the women’s college golf world, USC coach Andrea Gaston has accepted an offer to become the new head coach at Texas A&M.

    Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

    Gaston, who informed her players of her decision Monday night, has been one of the most successful coaches over the past two decades, leading the Trojans to three NCAA titles and producing five NCAA individual champions during her 22-year reign. They have finished in the top 5 at nationals in an NCAA-record 13 consecutive seasons.

    This year was arguably Gaston’s most impressive coaching job. She returned last fall after undergoing treatment for uterine cancer, but a promising season was seemingly derailed after losing two stars to the pro ranks at the halfway point. Instead, she guided a team with four freshmen and a sophomore to the third seed in stroke play and a NCAA semifinals appearance. Of the four years that match play has been used in the women’s game, USC has advanced to the semifinals three times.  

    Texas A&M could use a coach with Gaston’s track record.

    Last month the Aggies fired coach Trelle McCombs after 11 seasons following a third consecutive NCAA regional exit. A&M had won conference titles as recently as 2010 (Big 10) and 2015 (SEC), but this year the team finished 13th at SECs.

    The head-coaching job at Southern Cal is one of the most sought-after in the country and will have no shortage of outside interest. If the Trojans look to promote internally, men’s assistant Justin Silverstein spent four years under Gaston and helped the team win the 2013 NCAA title.  

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    Spieth 'blacked out' after Travelers holeout

    By Will GrayJune 19, 2018, 9:44 pm

    CROMWELL, Conn. – It was perhaps the most-replayed shot (and celebration) of the year.

    Jordan Spieth’s bunker holeout to win the Travelers Championship last year in a playoff over Daniel Berger nearly broke the Internet, as fans relived that raucous chest bump between Spieth and caddie Michael Greller after Spieth threw his wedge and Greller threw his rake.

    Back in Connecticut to defend his title, Spieth admitted that he has watched replays of the scene dozens of times – even if, in the heat of the moment, he wasn’t exactly choreographing every move.


    Travelers Championship: Articles, photos and videos


    “Just that celebration in general, I blacked out,” Spieth said. “It drops and you just react. For me, I’ve had a few instances where I’ve been able to celebrate or react on a 72nd, 73rd hole, 74th hole, whatever it may be, and it just shows how much it means to us.”

    Spieth and Greller’s celebration was so memorable that tournament officials later shipped the rake to Greller as a keepsake. It’s a memory that still draws a smile from the defending champ, whose split-second decision to go for a chest bump over another form of celebration provided an appropriate cap to a high-energy sequence of events.

    “There’s been a lot of pretty bad celebrations on the PGA Tour. There’s been a lot of missed high-fives,” Spieth said. “I’ve been part of plenty of them. Pretty hard to miss when I’m going into Michael for a chest bump.”

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    Pregnant Lewis playing final events before break

    By Randall MellJune 19, 2018, 9:27 pm

    Stacy Lewis will be looking to make the most of her last three starts of 2018 in her annual return to her collegiate roots this week.

    Lewis, due to give birth to her first child on Nov. 3, will tee it up in Friday’s start to the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship at Pinnacle Country Club in Rogers, Arkansas. She won the NCAA individual women’s national title in 2007 while playing at the University of Arkansas. She is planning to play the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship next week and then the Marathon Classic two weeks after that before taking the rest of the year off to get ready for her baby’s arrival.

    Lewis, 33, said she is beginning to feel the effects of being with child.

    “Things have definitely gotten harder, I would say, over the last week or so, the heat of the summer and all that,” Lewis said Tuesday. “I'm actually excited. I'm looking forward to the break and being able to decorate the baby's room and do all that kind of stuff and to be a mom - just super excited.”

    Lewis says she is managing her energy levels, but she is eager to compete.

    “Taking a few more naps and resting a little bit more,” she said. “Other than that, the game's been pretty good.”

    Lewis won the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship in 2014, and she was credited with an unofficial title in ’07, while still a senior at Arkansas. That event was reduced to 18 holes because of multiple rain delays. Lewis is a popular alumni still actively involved with the university.