CARLSBAD, Calif. -- Stephen Ames meant it as a joke.
Tiger Woods apparently didn't think it was funny.
Ames was on the practice range Monday afternoon when he was asked if he would take a carefree approach into his first-round match against the No. 1 player since not many expected him to win. Ames shook his head.
''Anything can happen," he said, breaking into a big smile. ''Especially where he's hitting the ball."
Woods hit the ball pretty good yesterday at the
''It's been a while since I played one like that," Woods said with a smile.
As he climbed into a van behind the 10th green, Woods was asked if he had read Ames's comments.
Did it motivate him?
Asked if he cared to elaborate, Woods smiled.
Not everything is easy in the Accenture Match Play Championship.
Ernie Els returned to La Costa Resort for the first time in three years and left with a familiar result, losing on the 18th hole to 48-year-old Bernhard Langer. The Big Easy has never made it out of the second round at La Costa.
The other top seeds, Vijay Singh and Retief Goosen, had no problem, and Phil Mickelson (No. 5) had to go 18 holes before getting rid of Charles Howell.
But it was tough for Scott Verplank, who matched the tournament record by going 26 holes before he got past Lee Westwood of England.