Stephen Ames does not ask for a lot of credit but today that is what he will get from me. The PGA Tour player from Trinidad & Tobago who now plays under the Canadian flag has taken his share of lumps over the years but I think he deserves some praise as well.
Last week Ames played host to the Stephen Ames Cup in Calgary where a team of Canadian junior golfers affiliated with the Canadian Junior Golf Association took on a squad from Ames’ nation of birth. Sure, Ames could just stamp his name on the event but he does way more than that. John Lawrence, Managing Director of Tour Operations for the CJGA told me this morning that not only did Ames attend but he also spent loads of time with the kids during the week including after-golf excursions like roller-skating. He even brought some of the CJGA Tour staff up to SilverTip Resort, which he represents, to enjoy a little golf.
So what makes that exceptional you ask? The reality is that last week Ames could have been playing in the Wyndham Championship, the last PGA Tour event before the FedEx Cup Playoffs. Heading into the week Ames was just outside the top 125 in FedEx Cup points – a spot that could have qualified him to play The Barclays this week and play for $8,000,000. He had a realistic chance of making it into the top 125 but instead chose to honour his commitment to junior golfers.
For that Ames deserves our applause and respect. Something I don’t think he ever gets enough of.
An interesting story today by Rick Young, Business & Equipment Analyst of ScoreGolf of the future of the Canadian Tour’s Seaforth Country Classic. It is hard to know where to weigh in on that one but it would be great to see a revitalized Canadian Tour in the future. It has been the breeding ground for many of the world’s top professionals and it deserves a better fate. There are some fantastic people in place at the Tour, notably Scott Pritchard, their new Director of Business Development & Communications, and hopefully the work I know they are doing now will pay off in the near future.
Nothing would make me happier than to see a strong tour with a full schedule of events and some decent purses that are worth pursuing by the up and coming talent who work so hard to earn every single penny.
A last note and this one is for the junior golfers out there, especially those hoping to earn an athletic scholarship. When playing in tournaments, no matter how you are playing, be mindful that your actions say a lot about you. I saw a young golfer recently who was an incredible talent but acted in a very disrespectful manner to a tournament official and often with his playing companions. Talent is one thing but that kind of behaviour shows a lot about your character. It’s enough to cause a college coach to drop you from their consideration list.
How do I know this? I saw it once before at an Ontario Junior Championship where two coaches from U.S. Schools were following a young man they both had an interest in. All was fine when the player was playing well but once he started to make a few bogeys his tirades became unbearable to watch. How bad was it? One coach said to me that no matter how talented that player was he would never consider signing him simply because of how he failed to handle himself properly in the face of adversity.
There may not be a lot of junior golfers that read this column but if you know one that fits the picture I paint above, be sure to let them know how a few unnecessary heated moments on the golf course can have a real impact on their future.