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stephen ames tiger woods

Tiger Woods’ Match Play mauling of Stephen Ames that will live on forever

The Canadian lived to regret his comments about his opponent ahead of the WGC-Match Play in 2006. This is the story
 

It may have been 17 years ago, and the WGC-Dell Match Play may be no more after 2023, but how could you forget this most brutal, merciless highlight of Tiger Woods’ career?

Woods won the WGC Match Play for the first time in 2003 and three years later, there was a bit of heat applied to his first-round match against Stephen Ames.

Ames provided what became a template for “famous last words” in the lead-up by saying, “anything can happen, especially where he’s hitting the ball,” about his match with Woods.

Woods had won the Buick Invitational in the month prior to the Match Play, held in La Costa, California, so the then-30-year-old was still full of confidence when Ames made his surprising comment.

The “anything can happen” part certainly rang true as the brutal Tiger beatdown unfolded. He made seven birdies in the first nine holes to go 9 up at the turn.

When asked for his reaction after the match in Carlsbad, Woods just replied with, “9&8.”

The 15-time major champion later revealed “how ticked he was” that he missed a putt on the 10th hole to upgrade the victory to 10&8, the ultimate golfing humiliation.

“I just think he didn’t all quite respect the way that I can play the game of golf,” Woods told Geno Auriemma on the Holding Court podcast in 2017. “So I had to show him that I can still play.”

Ironically, Woods was beaten 1 up by Chad Campbell in the third round.

Nonetheless, this still stands as the record margin of victory at the event, and Woods also holds the record margin of victory in the final after beating Stewart Cink 8&7 in 2008.

Perhaps the victory worked as a catalyst for Ames.

Just three tournaments later, the Canadian won the Players Championship by six shots, a margin only to be matched or bettered by two other winners in the history of the event.

It was also a lesson learned. Don’t give Tiger Woods the motivation he already possesses to take out an opponent in devastating fashion.

Matt Chivers

Matt Chivers

Now on the wrong side of 25, Matt has been playing golf since the age of 13 and was largely inspired to take up the game by countless family members who played golf during his childhood.

Matt is a member at Royal Cinque Ports in Deal playing off a 5 handicap, just a pitching wedge away from his hometown of Dover where he went to school and grew up. He has previously been a member at Etchinghill and Walmer and Kingsdown in Kent.

Having studied history at the University of Liverpool, Matt went on to pass his NCTJ Exams in Manchester a year later to fulfil his lifelong ambition of becoming a journalist. He picked up work experience along the way at places such as the Racing Post, the Independent, Sportsbeat and the Lancashire Evening Post.

Matt joined NCG in February 2023 and is the website’s main source of tour news, features and opinion. He has reported live from events such as The Open, the Ryder Cup and The Players Championship, having also interviewed and spoken to the likes of Rory McIlroy, Tommy Fleetwood, Lee Westwood, Graeme McDowell, Henrik Stenson, to name just a few.

Consuming tour golf on what is a 24/7 basis, you can come to Matt for informed views on the game and the latest updates on the PGA Tour, DP World Tour, LPGA Tour, Ladies European Tour and LIV Golf.

What’s in Matt’s bag: Cobra LTDx LS driver, Cobra LTDx 3-wood, TaylorMade P7MC irons, Ping Glide 4.0 wedges, Odyssey putter.

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