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June 29, 2005

Stephen Ames


JOAN v.T. ALEXANDER: Stephen, thank you for joining us for a few minutes here in the media center at the Cialis Western Open. First opportunity to defend your title. You had an opportunity to play today. Why don't you talk a little bit about the golf course and then we'll go into questions.

STEPHEN AMES: The golf course is in great shape this year, as it was last year, from what I remember. It's a lot greener, had some very good conditions, fairways are very lush, greens are in great shape. I saw some of the rough; I didn't see much of it actually. It's been pretty dry, but overall I think the golf course is in great shape.

JOAN v.T. ALEXANDER: You're defending your title for the first time.

STEPHEN AMES: My first defense title, yes.

JOAN v.T. ALEXANDER: Just give us a little feeling on that, doing that for the first time.

STEPHEN AMES: I guess the biggest thing, of course, is the media requests. They're more this week than normal. I'm signing more autographs obviously, and it's a nice feeling coming back to a golf tournament that I won last year, and I'm looking forward to almost using this as a kick start for my year to get it started.

Q. Looking back on a year as a champion, what's it been like kind of in more general terms? You hadn't been a champion before this tournament on the PGA TOUR. You're introduced differently on the tees and stuff like that.

STEPHEN AMES: Yeah, of course. From Calgary Alberta, is where I'm from, and the winner of the 2004 Cialis Western Open, yeah, it's nice. It sends a little buzz up the back of your neck, which is nice.

Q. Does this course look much different to you at all? Do you see it playing differently, pin placements, tee placements, anything?

STEPHEN AMES: No, it's playing exactly the same as it was last year, which is nice. Then you don't have to do as much preparation say as Pinehurst or something.

Q. What's been kind of the story of your year do you feel?

STEPHEN AMES: A lot of tinkering unfortunately, too much tinkering for me, and living in Calgary it's been hard for me getting started. The weather on the West Coast for most of the year hasn't been great where you can get a nice momentum of playing three or even four days in a row I would say three days in a row. I think our first event for the year where we didn't have rain was probably the MCI. So it's been a while, and I've usually in the past used the West Coast as a kick start, work on my game a bit, and then as Florida comes in I'm ready to play golf and go from there. This year has been completely different and a good learning curve for me.

Q. When you're golfing in a Pro Am or practice round like this, do you feel pressured to put on a show for the guys that you're with at all just because they're not pros obviously, looking up to you to do something spectacular out on the course?

STEPHEN AMES: No, I think playing in a Pro Am I think you've got to be hospitable, be nice, be a gentleman. There's some guys that are not very much inclined to be, I would say, talkative with their playing partners, and I think being in a Pro Am, that's the main goal of what a professional golfer should do, not the fact that you're going to have five or six birdies. Yeah, we're going to have five or six birdies, trying to help their game and helping the score out, but also the fact of sharing an opportunity to playing with a playing partner, not so much you want to show them good golf but also show them fair personality side, as well. There are very few guys that do that very well.

Q. You mentioned the increased media attention that you're getting. Are you enjoying that at all?

STEPHEN AMES: I don't mind it. It's nice.

Q. Is it fun?

STEPHEN AMES: It has been fun for me, yeah.

Q. Is it nice kind of coming back here and being a bit of an unassuming defending champion maybe? Do you feel like you have a target on your back just because you won the event last year?

STEPHEN AMES: No, not at all. A target is from inside more than anything else. That's the person I'm fighting, I'm not fighting anybody else.

JOAN v.T. ALEXANDER: Thank you for joining us.

STEPHEN AMES: Thanks. Have a good week, guys.

End of FastScripts.

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