Tiger's Match Play Assault on Ames

Throwback: Tiger’s Match Play Assault on Stephen Ames

Never forget the dominance of Tiger Woods in his prime.

One of the best examples was Tiger vs. Stephen Ames at the 2006 WGC Dell Match Play at LaCosta. 

Anytime I need a good laugh or want extra motivation to golf, I watch this video of their match.

If you’re somehow unfamiliar with this match in 2006, it was a one of a kind TW whooping. 

Spoiler alert, Tiger won the match 9&8… yes he was 9 up with 8 holes to play! 

I almost feel bad for Steven but then again, he had it coming. Let’s break down possibly the best match play golf ever played. 

The Backstory

It’s been said that you should never poke a sleeping bear or in this case, a sleeping Tiger.

Before the event, Stephen Ames didn’t just poke, he prodded Tiger with this quote, “Anything can happen, especially where he’s hitting it.”

Tiger was instantly triggered.

As a golfer, I understand the importance of having confidence in a match. It’s essential to win and in his defense, Tiger was spraying it all over the golf course. But he still always knew how to get the ball in the hole. 

As you can imagine (or remember), absolute domination took over from the first tee shot. It was peak Tiger Woods and some of the greatest golf he’s ever played. 

Tiger Woods vs. Stephen Ames Match Play

As Paul Azinger said during the broadcast, “No need to fire Tiger up.” 

But the damage was done, it was Tiger’s time. He played that day with a certain level of focus that is normally reserved for Sunday in a major championship.

He was absolutely unstoppable that day. 

Here’s how it went:

  1. Stephen conceded Tiger’s birdie putt – 1UP
  2. Tiger got some help from the Golf Gods to make his birdie putt on the 2nd – 2UP 
  3. Tiger ropes a 5 wood from a “marginal” lie to 15 feet. Two putt birdie – 3UP
  4. A tight wedge and a perfect birdie putt – 4UP (through 4 holes)
  5. Tiger drains a short birdie putt – 5UP
  6. TW hits over the trees and nearly drives the short par 4 with a perfect club twirl. Another birdie – 6UP 
  7. Tiger wins again – 7UP
  8. Tiger hits a beautiful chip that nearly goes in on the par 5 8th (Side note: at this point Tiger was -7 through 8 holes which is nothing short of incredible) – 8UP
  9. Stephen gets his first half of the day. Tiger still 8UP
  10. Tiger makes a short par putt to seal the match. Wins 9&8.

Honestly, I’m a little mad the match ended because Tiger might have broken 60 with that type of play! 

Tiger After the Match

After the round Dottie Pepper asked him about having extra motivation, he replied “Oh yeah, there certainly was, Stephen provided it.” Later saying, “I think he understands now.” 

As the comments show, Tiger mode was activated. This was a one of a kind, dominating performance that will probably never happen again. 

Needless to say, we haven’t heard much from Stephen since then. As they say, “Mess with a bull, you get the horns.”

Have you ever seen a better match play performance?

Let us know in the comments below!

Written by Michael Leonard

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