Thursday, February 23, 2006

Stephen Ames -- Time to shut your mouth

Calgary's Stephen Ames was probably joking when, prior to the Accenture Matchplay start yesterday, he told reporters in California that Tiger Woods was spraying the ball a bit. He added that a great champion like Woods still finds a way to get the ball in the hole, but the notion was still clear: Tiger was ripe for the taking. He wasn't on his game and Ames would capitalize.
"Anything can happen," he told reporters Monday. "Especially where he's hitting the ball."
Wow, was Ames ever wrong.
Woods took Ames apart with birdies in each of his first six holes enroute to a 29 front total and the most one sided pounding of an opponent the Matchplay has seen to date. In fact, it will be the quickest defeat on a permanent basis, since Woods used the minimum number of holes to take Ames apart.
Sure Woods took his game to a new height, but Ames should be embarrassed by his remarks in the first place. It isn't the first time Ames has said something negative about Woods. A few years ago he commented that no one ever wanted Tiger as a playing partner and suggested Tiger wasn't particularly mature. Then at the Canadian Open in 2004, not long after his first win, he suggested he might sit out the Presidents Cup if he made the team. Turned out he didn't have to worry about that -- his terrible 2005 campaign in which he was dealing with his wife's battle with cancer took care of that -- but it was still indicative of the crazy stuff that comes out of Ames. Maybe it is his Caribbean background -- having grown up in Trinidad -- that has made him overly relaxed with his comments. Who knows? The reality is his peers also thought his latest remarks were not particularly sharp and Ames should probably think a bit longer before opening his mouth. (Note: A reader has suggested my comment on Ames' heritage is inappropriate -- this is my response: What I'm trying to suggest -- and I've heard it from other sports writers -- is that Stephen has a more relaxed way of dealing with the media. In other words, he simply voices his opinion without being too worried about the consequences. I'm betting that comes from growing up in a culture where the media isn't as intrusive.)
Â?That wasn't very smart,Â? Geoff Ogilvy said. Â?It's not the first time (Woods) has been motivated by something someone said to the press. That probably wasn't the most clever thing. Any motivation for 18 holes can help.Â?
Robert Allenby said he looks forward to taking on Woods today, noting he won't be embarrassed like Ames was: Â?Yeah, it should be great. I won't be beaten 9 and 8, let me tell you.Â?

In other news, the LPGA has picked a strange time to start a media war, especially since this war is with the media.

This month, the Ladies Professional Golf Association modified its media credential requirements to be much more restrictive. Among other points, photographers must agree that the LPGA has an unlimited, perpetual right to use their photos for free. Why is this an issue? Well most media organizations want and maintain copyright over their material, and freelancers, both in print and photography, usually only give up first rights to their work. Now the LPGA wants to perpetually control photos and tell newspapers and other media organizations how they can deal with them. Oh, and the LPGA wants to be able to use them -- whenever and however they want.

Among the rules to which LPGA photographers must adhere:
The LPGA gets unlimited, perpetual, non-exclusive rights to use any photograph taken at an LPGA event for "non-commercial promotion" worldwide at no cost.
LPGA has the exclusive right to purchase a commercial-use license for any image taken at an LPGA event at a 20 percent discount off the best terms usually offered or a similar price.
A photographer or news organization must promptly supply the LPGA with any photo or digital file it requests at no cost.
Photographers "must refrain from taking photos until after a player has made her swing or stroke." These requirements are even softer than the first draft of the LPGA rules, to which editors also strongly objected. The first set of regulations, dated Feb. 7, said news organizations could only use LPGA photos if they were accompanied by a text article and for coverage that has a deadline within 48 hours of the event.

Why the LPGA and commissioner Carolyn Bivens would go forward with such a policy and stir such controversey at a time when their sport is starting to garner some attention is anyone's guess. Some, like Geoff Shackelford, seem to think it is unusual for her to start such a battle given her background is really in advertising and not the content side of media. Unless you think developing ads is content.

In the press conference to introduce her as the new commissioner, Bivens seem to indicate that working with the media would be a strength. How wrong that has turned out to be...


Q: Two quick questions. One, how do you think your experience with
Initiative will translate to this new position? And two, any early
thoughts on given your background how you will go about increasing or changing some of the marketing and advertising that go along with the tour?
CAROLYN VESPER BIVENS: Okay. Well, let me take the experience piece of it first. Actually looking back at this point already in the rearview mirror,
I feel like my previously 25 years experience have prepared me for this job, and it comes at just the right time in my career, and as I said, at a very exciting time in the LPGA history. The fact that I work with and have worked with all media types, all media forms, with the networks, with publishers across a variety of platforms, I think will benefit me.

7 Comments:

At 10:57 AM, Anonymous dennis said...

Well I guess the guy you noted before, TJ Simers, would love to interview Ames - no standard comments coming out of his mouth!

 
At 1:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am no fan of political correctness but your comment below is racist.

"Maybe it is his (Ames) Caribbean background -- having grown up in Trinidad -- that has made him overly relaxed with his comments"

Huh? How does a background from Trinidad equate to being more relaxed with comments? I think your readers, especially those with Caribbean background, would appreciate an explanation.

 
At 1:18 PM, Blogger Robert Thompson said...

I don't know about racist, since I'm of the same race as Stephen. What I'm trying to suggest -- and I've heard it from other sports writers -- is that Stephen has a more relaxed way of dealing with the media. In other words, he simply voices his opinion without being too worried about the consequences. I'm betting that comes from growing up in a culture where the media isn't as intrusive.

 
At 8:08 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

While I am no wordsmith, I think it is an unfortunate choice of sequence of words. I don't think it has to do with prejudice.

I suppose if Robert says '...maybe because he grew up in the care free and relaxed caribbean environment where people typically speak their mind...', it would not have been taken the wrong way....

 
At 9:07 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Excuse me..."unfortunate choice of sequence of words"?...Robert Thompson is a journalist! Choice of sequence of words is his livelihood. Let's not make excuses for his posts. Let Robert be accoutable for his writings. And to his credit, I would say he has been as evidenced by the added comment in his original post...

 
At 10:04 AM, Blogger Robert Thompson said...

I'd agree with anon. My bad. I'm actually in the camp that appreciates that Stephen says crazy stuff every so often -- makes for good copy. The Presidents Cup comments went too far, in my mind, and he may have been joking when speaking of Tiger. Nonetheless, I was not clear enough in my post. Blog posts are sometimes dashed off, and you are right, anon, being more careful in the wording would have been best in this situation.

 
At 3:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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