Taking Ames at Glen Abbey

It feels like something from the twilight zone when you’re standing over a 30-foot putt and when you glance up Stephen Ames is holding the flagstick for you.

That happened a few times for me at Glen Abbey Monday morning. Not only Ames but the 30-foot putts as well. He was there along with Mike Weir, Ian Leggatt and a number of other Canadian pros pumping up the RBC Canadian Open set for the Jack Nicklaus-designed track in a few short weeks.

For whatever reason, they forced Ames to play in a group with me and my 12 handicap. Didn’t matter to him however. Get him on the course and he’s a regular guy but his game is anything but regular. A few minor swing changes with coach Sean Foley, a switch to a new Nike ball and suddenly Ames doesn’t know his own strength. He was pounding balls down the fairway and had to be careful not to fly the green here and there. His game is that good right now.

The Abbey by the way is ready to go. The fairways are perfect, the rough is long and juicy, and the infrastructure construction is well underway. The greens might have been a tad slow but they should be good for the championship.

Ames and the others are also gushing about the Open’s return to venerable St. George’s in 2010. There are still challenges however. Crowd control, traffic, lack of a practice facility but we’re all aware of those issues.

Ames made a good point though. A precious few touring pros have ever played the course. Mike Weir hasn’t. He will later this summer. We all know how great it is but they might need convincing. Why not send them all a promotional DVD extolling the virtues of one of Canada’s finest? Both Weir and Ames say the players would look at it for sure.

Meanwhile for Ames, he’s looking at vacation. He’s right in the middle of a month off before picking it up with the British Open followed by a return to Glen Abbey and our national championship. Until then, sun, sand the beach and the family. Just the way it should be this time of year.

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