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August 11, 2007

Stephen Ames


KELLY ELBIN: Ladies and gentlemen, Stephen Ames in second place after three rounds of the 89th PGA Championship, second consecutive 1-under par in the third round, and he's at minus 4206. Three shots behind the leader, Tiger Woods.
Stephen, thoughts on your third sub par round here at Southern Hills.
STEPHEN AMES: Good day overall. Definitely was set up very tough with the pins being so close to the edges, just over the bunkers and stuff so there's a lot of pins you really couldn't go at. 20, 25 feet was a good shot.
And basically what I did all day was hit a lot of greens. Middle of the greens and when the putts dropped, which a couple did on the back nine, then I made the birdies.
But overall it was a steady round. A lot of -- some fairways, to some extent, I think, I haven't looked at it -- I thought it was less. Less fairways, more greens, which is funny. But it was a good day otherwise.
KELLY ELBIN: Stephen hit seven fairways but hit 14 greens in regulation. Pretty clean card.
If you would, go through the one bogey on 2 and the two birdies on the back nine.
STEPHEN AMES: 2 was just in the left rough there. And I had probably 210 to the hole, chipped the 5-iron out of the rough, ran it short of the green and ran over the green over the back into the water. Made a good 5. Recovery from back there was almost impossible. I hit a little bump and run, which we rarely get to play over here, and hit the flag and made 5. I was happy to get out of there with 5.
And then pars all the way up to 12, 3-wood, 7-iron about 25 feet, my first putt that I made for the day.
And then 18 I hit driver, 7-iron about 12, 15 feet above the hole, made that coming down the hill.
Other than that, the only blemish, struggling coming hole 16, missed the fairway, had to thread it through the trees onto the green. Hit a good par.
Then 17 got up-and-down out of the rough, short of the green for par.
KELLY ELBIN: Open it up for questions.

Q. Stephen, obviously it's been a while, but a lot was made of your comments at the Match Play about Tiger. I see you rolling your eyes?
STEPHEN AMES: Are we here at the PGA Championship or are we here at the Match Play? Which one are we talking about?

Q. What I'd like to ask you is, you've said it was out of context. Can you just, for the record, say what it was that you meant to say in the first place and why it was out of context?
STEPHEN AMES: I don't know if I want to go there because you might take it out of context again. So we'll leave it at that. Next question.

Q. Steve, is this a nothing-to-lose situation tomorrow since everybody expects him to win anyway?
STEPHEN AMES: Yes, of course, without a doubt. For me I'm happy to be in the situation. I had a great round in the U.S. Open, second to the last group going there. Here I'm at the PGA Championship in another major and I'm in the last group going out again. For me it's a great opportunity of being in the situation. Gives me the experiences of being in this opportunity and this experience. And Tiger's looking for his 13th. I'm looking for my first. (Smiling).

Q. You took a good, long look at the board before you stepped up to the putt. I'm wondering, and I think a lot of people are wondering, why would you want to put yourself through this? Why wouldn't you just kind of miss this one a little bit to the right? You obviously had none of those thoughts. So were you aggressively trying to get into the last group?
STEPHEN AMES: I'm aggressively trying to get closer to him, that's what -- he's got a three-shot lead. Is it three? Yes, three-shot lead. Five in front of him might not be enough. We're three behind. We're just trying to get close to him. That's all we're trying to do.

Q. As you play tomorrow, it's obviously a very different situation in stroke play. Will you consciously try not to pay attention to what Tiger's doing?
STEPHEN AMES: I won't say consciously. I play golf and I play my game. I'm not going to be watching what he's doing. He's probably going to play a steady game as he does when he's in the lead. He's done it 12 times. And won the 12 times when he's in the lead. Great front runner. He's going to be tough to beat, without a doubt. But you know what? I'm going to be conscious of what I'm doing, how I'm thinking and that's how I've got to play tomorrow.

Q. Can you talk about how the greens have been holding up through six days now of bad heat here in the States?
STEPHEN AMES: You're right, it is the States, isn't it? Today actually the greens got firmer and faster, I would say probably closer to what a major championship would be more like. The first two days were a bit soft. And today you can see the difference in the grass and the coloring of the grass, how much it's changed.
Plus I didn't see them out there syringing the greens like they did the first two days. So it's a different animal now altogether. This golf course is definitely showing its teeth more and more.

Q. Shaun said afterwards -- he said all day long you had people running around, trying to get in position for Tiger behind. He said it might be even easier to play with him tomorrow from that respect, everybody's in position already?
STEPHEN AMES: Yeah, probably would be. Not that I noticed it. There were a lot of people, obviously, lining up the holes before he played, which is common. Usually the group in front of Tiger usually are the ones who have the problems because everybody's scampering around when they're trying to play. Playing with him would probably make life a little easier, yeah.

Q. Wonder if you could just give us some idea of what it's like to be in the group with Tiger Woods, what that circus atmosphere is like?
STEPHEN AMES: I haven't had a clue. Ask Tiger. I've never been in a major with him in the last group.

Q. Follow-up to that, the last several players who played with Tiger in the final group of a major have all struggled right off the bat. How much is that because they're playing next to Tiger and how can you combat that tomorrow?
STEPHEN AMES: Yeah, it's probably because you're playing with Tiger. He has that influence on players. It's probably going to happen to me. I don't know. Like I said, I haven't been in this situation. Like my colleague back in the back, my game plan tomorrow is to be conscious of what I'm doing and not to be conscious of what Tiger's doing, that's the only thing I have control over is myself, not him. That's the biggest concern that I have is being me. I gotta be me, myself.
KELLY ELBIN: Stephen Ames, in second place after three rounds of the PGA Championship.

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