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August 10, 2007

Stephen Ames


KELLY ELBIN: Stephen Ames in with a 1-under par 69 in the 89th PGA Championship for a two-round total of 3-under par, 137, currently one shot out of the lead.
Stephen, must feel pretty good about where you are right now.
STEPHEN AMES: Yeah, I am. I'm hitting the ball nicely and getting it up-and-down when I need to, which is obviously key to having a good score.
KELLY ELBIN: Do you mind going through your card? You had some birdies and some bogeys in there.
STEPHEN AMES: Yeah, like we all are, right. Driver, 9-iron to the first hole, about six, seven feet and made that.
3, miss-clubbed on my second shot, it was middle of the fairway and I hit 8-iron, flew the green.
Then 5, poor drive, great recovery and hit a great third shot to two feet and made birdie there.
Bogeyed the 6th again.
Then the 13th, couldn't go for it because of the angle I was at. And then laid up, made a nice 12-, 15-footer for birdie. And then 14, made about a 30-footer for birdie there. I hit 3-iron to the middle of the green.
Then 18, made bogey.
KELLY ELBIN: Thanks. Open it up for questions.

Q. Two things, first of all, you hear all of the time, guys say, "I'm hitting it well and maybe I'm not scoring the way I want to" or whatever. Are you playing pretty much the same as you have been or is something better? Where's your game at?
STEPHEN AMES: Putting is different this week for me. Putting has been a bit of a downfall for most of the year, actually. And we've changed a couple things this week and it's working nicely.
I feel more confident hitting good putts.

Q. I know it came late in the round but how big was the chip-in for par at I think 16.
STEPHEN AMES: Any chip-in for par is big, first hole, 16th hole, doesn't matter.

Q. How far was that chip-in?
STEPHEN AMES: About 20 feet. 20, 25 feet.
KELLY ELBIN: For the record, Stephen has had 28 putts each of the first two rounds.
STEPHEN AMES: There you go.

Q. What do you take from seeing other first-timers breakthrough and win major championships this year? What do you take from that if anything, considering how you've played in majors this year?
STEPHEN AMES: Obviously being a first-timer, yeah, I'm going to be in that category, aren't I? Yeah, I'm in that category and I have an opportunity of winning here, that's what I take away from it. (Laughing).

Q. I know you like to play fast, and you get in -- you're in a twosome, and you're behind a group that was possibly glacial. You're chirping with the fans, you're kind of bantering, is that how you just keep relaxed and just keep getting from getting steamed at the delays?
STEPHEN AMES: Well, there are some things that you can control. That's definitely one of them that I didn't have any control over. We lost our third after the third hole yesterday, so we had two days of slow pace.
And so for something like I said, it's out of our control and we just have to play golf. It was kind of nice, actually, because we had an opportunity of cooling off underneath the shade there and getting up and hitting the shot. To some extent most of the bogeys that I made were actually because we stood up there and waited for quite a while.
But other than that, no, it was pleasant. Long five hours.

Q. You were bantering, though, with the people.
STEPHEN AMES: Yeah, that's my personality. You know that. (Winking).
KELLY ELBIN: Anything different condition-wise since you played in the morning today?
STEPHEN AMES: Yeah, definitely, obviously with the heat that's going on today, they are afraid of losing the greens which is probably going to happen eventually if they don't water them; with the amount of traffic going through, the heel prints are showing up and little spike marks, which from what I've seen in the past with other Opens and PGAs here, that's a common thing here at Southern Hills because of the heat.

Q. How would you compare the difficulty, I'm assuming harder, but relatively speaking, this golf course and this week compared to when you won THE PLAYERS Championship?
STEPHEN AMES: Good question. This is tougher I think. Yeah, without a doubt.
You have -- you might have more -- you're probably going to have less club into most of the greens. But it's not as penal. The fairways are a lot narrower here than they were at the TPC. And then the greens I would say not near as severe as some of these greens are.
So I think overall this is a much fairer, tougher test altogether.

Q. What specifically have you done with your putting? You said came into the week and made some changes; what are those?
STEPHEN AMES: Changed the grip from being in the fingers to more up the lifeline in my hand. So the putter itself actually sat at a better angle over the ball rather than having two planes; it was one plane.

Q. You did that on Monday?
STEPHEN AMES: Yeah, I did. Yeah, Monday.

Q. I know it's only halfway, but you're in a position now where you could really make a statement regarding Presidents Cup selection. How much of that is in the forefront of your mind and how much is being pushed to the back so it doesn't bother your play here?
STEPHEN AMES: It's in my mind to some extent. I've actually looked at some other players who are in the running, should I say, as a pick, because I know the first of the ten under -- Anders Romero is 10th right now but everybody else -- you look at the players who are playing well or have been playing well who are in the forefront. Everybody who is in between me and the 10th spot is behind me on the leaderboard. So those are things I'll be looking at, obviously, because I would like to play the Presidents Cup. I think having it in Montreal deserves having a Canadian on the team. If it means that I have to play my way in or at least give Mr. Player a tingle of a thought that Mr. Ames has played well at the PGA, maybe he deserves to get on to the team, yeah, that's my goal, try to get onto there.

Q. You had mentioned before that when Tim Clark was selected, it was because of the strong performance in the PGA. Coming in here, were you thinking that that's what you needed to do?
STEPHEN AMES: To some extent, yeah. Hopefully I will fall into that category. We don't know. But we'll find out.

Q. Just as a follow to that, Romero actually goes to 11 after this week because of the way the rankings work.

Q. Do you think it will be looked upon as them needing someone to chat with Cabrera, so to speak, for the week? Would that be a factor?
STEPHEN AMES: To some extent. I think his performance -- he's proved himself as a performer to some extent. I mean, he almost won the British. The week after he goes and wins at the European PGA, and the guy, he's a bomber, too. Today's game, you need that. I didn't realize that he was going to go to 11.
Okay, so probably he will have to be -- if I was a captain situation, I would be picking him without a doubt. Too good of a player to leave out.

Q. You put yourself in the middle of the mix at the U.S. Open on Sunday, had as good a chance as anybody to win, didn't happen. Did you take it out of that confidence that you put yourself, got that deep in there, put yourself there, or did you have to get over what happened down the stretch? How did you come away from that?
STEPHEN AMES: Learning that to win majors, it's not about who hits it the closest, who makes the most putts. It's more about the fact, who is the most patient. That is the biggest thing that I've learned coming out of that week.

Q. Did you feel like you lost your patience a little bit?
STEPHEN AMES: To some extent I did.
I could have done a couple things different, the 7th, 8th and 9th hole that I played where I had a triple and a double on those two holes; that's five shots. Making bogey bogey, that's a three-shot difference there. The and of course with a little momentum there, knowing I had that situation, I took maybe a couple of chances I wouldn't in the past.
That's the biggest thing I learned out of that was definitely being more patient.
KELLY ELBIN: Stephen tied for 10th at the U.S. Open at Oakmont.

Q. How would you describe your patience level this week?
STEPHEN AMES: Great. Considering I played in a two ball, five hours, five hours. (Laughing) PGA needs to work on their pace factor. Only kidding.

Q. Is it harder to be patient with these conditions?
STEPHEN AMES: I don't know, actually. Yes and no I guess. I don't know. Depends on the person.
My situation, I've been staying under the trees all day, you know, and then when it's my turn to hit, then I walk out, do my yardage, get up, hit it, walk back through the trees and walk back to the green. That's how I've played this week, underneath the trees. I have, not my ball, which is nice. (Laughter).

Q. So you'll walk up the tree line?
STEPHEN AMES: Yes, I have done that for two days, yeah, and I'll do it again the next two days.

Q. No mango trees out there?
STEPHEN AMES: No, no mango trees.

Q. Sabbatini got drummed last week and you kind of share something in common; when he was going through that, what were your thoughts and did you talk to him at all this week about it?

Q. Can you give me a little more than that?
STEPHEN AMES: Nothing. Didn't talk to him. He still played well.

Q. What did you think when he was going through that and when you heard what he said and the way it played out; did you watch it?
STEPHEN AMES: Well, I think mine -- I think his was straight up front what he said. Mine was taken out of text completely. And I won't get into that. We've talked about this already, we have. I think his was straight out. That's what he said. Mine wasn't.

Q. Do you allow yourself to think about winning this and what that would entail, or do you prefer to keep the blinders on and go shot for shot?
STEPHEN AMES: I think we all know what this entails, winning a major -- getting to retirement -- no, only kidding. TPC was that kind of a win, also, the same kind of exemption it gives and you that kind of stuff.
The major itself, it gives you more outing, contracts, all those kind of things change and there's more prestige that comes with the major obviously. No, I haven't thought about it. Just playing golf.

Q. Did closing out THE PLAYERS Championship, what does that do for your confidence level here?
STEPHEN AMES: A lot. I know what it took there to do it and I know what it's going to take any major to make it. There at THE PLAYERS, it was pure ball-striking. I hit the ball exceptionally well there and ran away from the field.
This week is probably going to be the same thing. You're going to have to be -- if your game is not on, and you're not hitting fairways, you've got to be patient.

Q. Are you pretty confident right now that you can do this?
STEPHEN AMES: To some extent, yeah. All aspects of my game are working nicely. I feel confident over the golf ball which is a nice feeling and I'm hitting the shapes that I want to hit when I'm standing up which is nice, and I'm starting the ball on my lines every time that I see it, the line that I see.
So I think nine out of ten times, it's going to go in the hole. But the idea is to be calm with yourself and be confident with what you have at that time, play with what you've got.
KELLY ELBIN: Stephen Ames, thank you very much.

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