This year’s inductee to the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame will be PGA veteran Stephen Ames.
The Trinidad and Tobago-born golfer who has called Calgary home for some 21 years, has four PGA Tour victories to his name (his biggest: the 2006 Players Championship) and has established a foundation to help young golfers in both nations.
Ames, 49, was the unanimous selection of the 10-person selection committee. He becomes the 74th inductee, and his induction ceremony is likely to take place at the Champions Tour’s Shaw Charity Classic in Calgary.
“It’s a great honour to be inducted into this wonderful group of players,” Ames said during a conference call Wednesday from West Palm Beach, Fla., where he is tuning his game during the winter months.
Ames won four PGA Tour events between 2004 and 2009, is a two-time winner on the European Tour and kicked-off his career with a Nationwide Tour win in 1991.
The oft-outspoken golfer grabbed headlines in 2006, for suggesting he liked his chances of beating Tiger Woods in match play, given the U.S. star’s erratic driving at the time.
But 2006 also provided the shining moment of Ames’s career: He blew past a strong field on the treacherous TPC at Sawgrass for the Players Championship title, an event of dubbed the “fifth major.” He finished at 14-under-par 274 to beat two-time U.S. Open champ Retief Goosen by six strokes.
Ames earned a $1.44-million (U.S.) purse, along with an unlikely trip to the Masters, and it vaulted him to No. 27 in the World Golf Rankings at the time. He called the win the highlight of his playing career.
“It was a week of complete mental control,” Ames said Wednesday. “Which we all know is very difficult to do day in and day out. On the course, that would be my highlight. Off the course, it’s this, being inducted into the Hall of Fame.
“As a proud Canadian, I am truly humbled by this great honour,” he said. “The opportunity to join this exceptional company of names in front of my friends and family at home in Calgary is something that I will cherish for a long time.”
Ames will turn 50 in April, and earn eligibility for the Champions Tour. He expects to transition between the PGA Tour and Champions Tour this season, playing some events on each. He’s No. 45 on the PGA Tour’s all-time money list, with more than $19.5-million in career earnings.
He has also been the champion of an effort to construct a championship-calibre golf course in Calgary, hoping it will host a Canadian Open by 2018 or 2020.
“The Canadian Golf Hall of Fame seeks to recognize excellence as golfers, contributors and supporters of the game,” said Ian Clarke, chair of the selection committee. “Stephen Ames has excelled on the biggest stage in our sport and it is fitting that he will be recognized for his respective accomplishments.”
Ames’s foundation gives funds to help develop golfers in Canada and Trinidad and Tobago, and was proud to note two of the young Canadians benefiting from his programs are headed toward scholarships to U.S. colleges.