Golf Australia

Fresh Badds in his happy place

Aaron Baddeley
Aaron Baddeley grinds away in the practise area at Pebble Beach.

If you’d shot par at all US Opens since 2000, you’d have won five outright and been in two playoffs.

Specifically at Pebble Beach, you’d have been in a playoff with Graeme McDowell in 2010 and while you’d have lost to Tiger Woods in 2000 by 12 strokes, you’d have finished runner-up and a comfortable three clear of third place.

So it says everything you need to know about the positive mindset and good form of Aaron Baddeley coming back to northern California that he wasn’t sure he’d sign up for four even-par rounds of 71 if they were offered.

His HUGE pause to ponder that question was telling.

“I don’t know. The weather is going to be good …,” Baddeley finally began.

“I’m not interested in the big cheque (that would guarantee), because if you’re under par here you’ve got a good chance to win and that’s what I’m thinking about doing. Absolutely.”

The Victorian – amazingly 38 for those who remember his dual Australian Open heroics around the turn of the century as if it were yesterday – giggled almost reluctantly when reflecting on being one of only nine players in this week’s field to have played the past two US Opens at Pebble Beach.

“Yeah, I guess I’m showing my age a little bit. I don’t want to say that though,” he said with trademark grin.

“I got a special invite in 2000 after winning the Aussie Open and then I qualified in 2010, so it’s a special US Open for me to be here again.

“I love the US Open. I was excited for Shinnecock (Hills in New York when T25) last year, but to come here to Pebble again, I know the course really well, and my caddie (legendary looper Pete Bender) knows the course really well, so we’re quietly confident.”

And this year, perhaps more than any other in the second half of his long American career, “Badds” comes to his 11th US Open relaxed and not in a dogfight to keep his US PGA Tour card.

The Aussie, who began this season on limited status after a battle last year, has already done enough to secure his playing rights for next year.

With that comes the freedom to pick a schedule that best suits his lifestyle and demands on his time.

“Yes, it’s nice. This (northern) summer feels like I can take a bit of time off, so it will be nice to go away on a couple of vacations while the kids aren’t in school.

“It’s great to be rested and feeling good for the playoffs and not feeling like I have to go play.

“Last year I played too much. I should have played less, but you learn.”

And capping Baddeley’s good vibes is that he’s on his 13th competitive visit to Pebble Beach, including a best of fourth in the 2012 AT&T Pro-Am.

“It’s a great course because it gives you options off the tee with drivers or irons and I like that. The strategy is just to be patient – the middle of the green is a good spot.

“My ranking is coming along, the game is where it needs to be and my putting is really good again, back where it should be.

“So it’s exciting. I’m hitting the ball so much better this year and I’ve been able to take advantage of some good ball-hitting, making more birdies.”

Any wonder par sounds only average.


Comments

Posted by Peter Styles at
12/06/2019 07:05 PM
go for it mate , I remember your first Australian Open as an amateur .. you have been always a favourite .. all the best this week ..you are a winner ..

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