Date: September 20, 2007
Author: John Clark

Troubles are behind me: Baddeley

Aaron Baddeley believes the troubled times he has encountered in his relatively young golfing career will make him a better player in the future. Baddeley seemed destined for greatness when he burst on the scene with victory in the Australian Open in 1999 as an 18-year-old amateur before defending his title a year later. However, the transition to the PGA Tour was not as smooth as expected and Baddeley struggled for consistency after a solid rookie season. He only just saved his spot on the tour in 2004 when he came in 124th on the money list, but in recent times has refined his swing and does not look out of place amongst the world&aposs best. Currently ranked No.19 in the world, Baddeley added a second PGA Tour title to his trophy cabinet in 2007 and played in all four majors in a season for the first time in his career. While things haven&apost gone to plan, a mature Baddeley is content on the course. “If you&aposd ask me back when I was 18 if I was going to be 26 and probably hadn&apost won a major yet, I probably would&aposve disagreed with you,” a forthright Baddeley said. “But I feel like the tough times that I had and the struggles were only for my benefit and I definitely wouldn&apost be the player or the person I am today without those struggles.” “I felt like they were necessary and I am grateful for those times.” His near-perfect putting continues to impress on tour – even Vijay Singh has asked for advice on the greens – and Baddeley is slowly hitting more of them in regulation. “I would say that the changes I have been making in my swing, I feel a lot more comfortable with them,” Baddeley said. “I feel that I have a better understanding of what I need to do to be good, to improve and get better as a golfer.” “I just feel more comfortable playing at that (elite) level and I feel like I can play at that level. I feel like I am going in the direction of playing at that level every week.” Success in Australia means much to Baddeley. He concedes it will be tough to hoist silverware this Australian summer with a number of in-form natives back to challenge. He has his sights on edging a step closer to Gary Player&aposs record of seven Australian Open titles. “There&aposs so many good Australian players, whoever wins is going to have to play great,” Baddeley said. “I definitely feel if I play at the level I am playing right now I have a good opportunity to win the third one which would be pretty cool. It would be an extra one and getting closer to Gary Player&aposs record.” And he wouldn&apost mind breaking his Masters duck either. “That&aposs an event I haven&apost won yet so I would definitely love to win around Huntingdale.” “To win a gold jacket, Greg (Norman) won six right? So it would be great to have my name on the trophy, the same trophy Greg has won.”