Baddeley May Be Here for a Little While

By George WhiteJanuary 20, 2003, 5:00 pm

The missus entered the living room and pulled up short when she saw what was splashed across the television - plaid pants that fit as snugly as a pair of stove pipes on a figure that was taut and lean. What are you watching ' That 70s Show? she questioned.
It was, of course, that kid from Australia. Aaron Baddeley stunned just about everyone, and not just because of the plaid. He very nearly put a W on his resume, and this one was against the worlds best golfer at the moment ' Ernie Els. Only a missed three-foot putt on No. 17 separated Baddeley from the victory ceremony.
Maybe Baddeley is at last fulfilling the glittering future that was forecast for him when he won the 1999 Holden Australian Open as an 18-year-old, defeating among others Greg Norman and Colin Montgomery. He repeated the Australian Open championship the following year, winning the money title of the Australian tour as a 19-year-old. In 2001, he won another major international event, the Greg Norman Holden International.
Then, in rapid-fire order, Baddeley A) got his own website ' Badds.Com; B) came to the United States and set up housekeeping in the Phoenix area; and C) fired his coach. Venerable old Dale Lynch, who has tutored several Australian greats, was shown the door. David Leadbetter was the new hire, entrusted with the care and shotmaking of the young phenom. Baddeley, of course, promptly went out and fell flat on his face.
Thats not terribly unusual for a 20-year-old. But when Australias other gifted young pro, Adam Scott, went to the European Tour and promptly won twice, Baddeleys popularity sunk even further. Baddeley couldnt even make a cut on the Buy.Com Tour, much less win the Masters or U.S. Open.
He professed never to second-guess, though. He had come to America intent upon playing golf, and he didnt really care if he was playing in Americas minor leagues or major leagues. Eventually he got it turned around on the Buy.Com Tour, finishing second three times, third once and fourth once. The last three full-field events on the junior tour, he finished second, tied for second, and third. Not surprisingly, he advanced to the big tour at the end of the year, his reward for finishing in the Buy.Coms top 15.
This year, he has played one tournament with the afore-mentioned result. And suddenly, he is the young man on everyones lips as the next Tiger.
Lets see ' weve seen Scott and Justin Rose from the European Tour, both of whom was going to be the next Tiger. In America, weve got Charles Howell. And David Gossett. Before them there was (is) Sergio Garcia and Matt Kuchar. Youll have to consider all of them before you anoint anyone as the next Tiger.
But Baddeley looks suspiciously like he might be around for a while. He possesses a deadly short game, characterized by his putting stroke which is delivered at warp speed. Very simply, he stands behind the ball swinging the club through his practice. When he addresses the ball ' he strokes, no fiddely-fallying around. Not since John Daly at the 91 PGA has anything like Baddeleys putting been witnessed. Avert your eyes for a second and the next thing youll see is the ball tracking towards the hole.
Baddeley was the youngest at 15 years of age to make a cut in an Australasian PGA Tour event ' the Victorian Open. At 16, he was the youngest to win a scholarship to the Victorian Institute of Sport. At 17, he was the youngest to win ' in a 105-year history ' the Riverdale Cup (and that must be impressive!) And you already know that at 18 he was the youngest to won the Australian Open, at 19 the youngest to win the ANZ money title.
Hes a better golfer than I was at 19, Tiger said when Baddeley was still a teen-ager. He is better at his age that Jack Nicklaus was, said none other than Gary Player. But he is just human, we are led to believe, with standard number of hands, feet, eyes and toes.
From his website, we learn this about Baddeley: that one of his favorite CDs is Jimmy Eat World, a group that is totally foreign to an old fogey like me but apparently not to the hip generation; he lifts weights between three and five times a week and does cardio exercises from one to five times a week; and of his diet, he says he has been doing research, which has brought me to the conclusion that my metabolic type is protein. Mine might be Snickers, but then Im not sure exactly what the research is.
So Baddeley is the new thing. And he proved he can make some noise at the Sony. Is he the next Tiger? No, probably not. But except for a missed three-footer, he would have been the Sony champion.
Related Links:
  • Aaron Baddeley Bio
  • What's in the Bag - Aaron Baddeley
  • Aaron Baddeley's Website
  • Simpson WDs from RSM, tweets his father is ill

    By Rex HoggardNovember 18, 2017, 10:45 pm

    ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – Following rounds of 67-68, Webb Simpson was in 12th place entering the weekend at the RSM Classic before he withdrew prior to Saturday’s third round.

    On Saturday afternoon, Simpson tweeted that he withdrew due to an illness in his family.

    “Thanks to [Davis Love III] for being such a great tournament host. I [withdrew] due to my dad being sick and living his last days,” Simpson posted on Twitter on Saturday afternoon.

    RSM Classic: Articles, photos and videos

    Full-field scores from the RSM Classic

    Simpson’s father, Sam, caddied for his son during amateur events, and Webb Simpson started playing golf after following his father to the course on family vacations to North Carolina.

    “My dad is probably the kindest man I know. He’s always been the guy who knew everyone, everyone knew him, everyone wanted to be around him,” Simpson said in a 2015 interview with David Feherty. “He taught me the game. He’s always been one of those dads who loved to be active with their kids.”

    Before play began on Thursday, Luke Donald withdrew after being hospitalized with chest pain. Tests indicated the Englishman’s heart was fine and he returned home to undergo more tests.

    New old putter helps Kirk (64) jump into contention

    By Rex HoggardNovember 18, 2017, 10:43 pm

    ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – Chris Kirk’s ball-striking has been nearly flawless this fall. Unfortunately, the same couldn’t be said for his putting.

    In four events this season, Kirk ranks 143rd in strokes gained: putting, but his fortunes have changed this week, thanks at least in part to a return to something familiar.

    Kirk switched to an older style of putter similar to the one he used on the Tour in 2010 to earn his PGA Tour card.

    “It's nice to be back in contention again,” said Kirk, who is alone in second place, three strokes behind front-runner Austin Cook. “It's been a little while for me. But I felt great out there today, I felt really comfortable, and so hopefully it will be the same way tomorrow.”

    RSM Classic: Articles, photos and videos

    Full-field scores from the RSM Classic

    Kirk is 25th in strokes gained: putting this week and has converted several crucial putts, including a 30-footer for birdie at the 17th hole on his way to a third-round 64.

    His putting is similar to 2013 when he won the RSM Classic, and his improved play on the greens has given the 32-year-old confidence going into Sunday’s final round.

    “I'll probably be relatively comfortable in that situation, and thankfully I've been there before,” Kirk said. “It's still not easy by any means, but hopefully I'll be able to group together a bunch of good shots and see what it gives me.”

    Rookie Cook (66) handling RSM like a pro

    By Rex HoggardNovember 18, 2017, 10:24 pm

    ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – Of all the impressive statistics Austin Cook has put up this week at the RSM Classic – he is first in strokes gained: tee to green, strokes gained: approach to the green and scrambling – the one number that stands out is 49.

    That’s how many holes Cook went this week without a bogey or worse, a moment that prompted his caddie, Kip Henley, to joke, “The dream is over.”

    That loss of momentum at the 14th hole didn’t last long, with the PGA Tour rookie making birdie at the next hole on his way to a third-round 66 and a three-stroke lead.

    “Bouncing back from any bogey with a birdie is nice and helps get the number right back. Being my only bogey of the week so far, it was really nice to be able to get that back on the next hole,” said Cook, who leads Chris Kirk at 18 under par. “Going into tomorrow with a three-shot lead instead of a two-shot lead I think is crucial.”

    RSM Classic: Articles, photos and videos

    Full-field scores from the RSM Classic

    Although this is the first time Cook has held a 54-hole lead on the Tour, in fact it’s just his fourth start as a Tour member, he has experienced Sunday pressure before. In 2015, he began the final round at the Shell Houston Open one stroke off the lead held by Jordan Spieth.

    “Back then my game was good as well, but mentally I've grown a lot and matured a lot and been able to kind of just let small things on the golf course roll off my shoulder instead of getting tied up in one little small mistake,” said Cook, who closed with a 75 at the ’15 Shell Houston Open to tie for 11th.

    Park collapses; leaderboard chaos at CME

    By Nick MentaNovember 18, 2017, 8:47 pm

    Sung-Hyun Park started the day with a three-shot lead and slowly gave it all back over the course of a 3-over 75, leaving the CME Group Tour Championship and a host of season-long prizes up for grabs in Naples. Here’s where things stand through 54 holes at the LPGA finale, where Michelle Wie, Ariya Jutanugarn, Suzann Pettersen and Kim Kaufman share the lead.

    Leaderboard: Kaufman (-10), Wie (-10), Jutanugarn (-10), Pettersen (-10), Stacy Lewis (-9), Karine Icher (-9), Austin Ernst (-9), Lexi Thompson (-9), Jessica Korda (-9), Pernilla Lindberg (-9)

    What it means: It wasn’t the Saturday she wanted, but Park, who already wrapped up the Rookie of the Year Award, is still in position for the sweep of all sweeps. With a victory Sunday, she would claim the CME Group Tour Championship, the Race to CME Globe’s $1 million jackpot, the Rolex Player of the Year Award, and the money title, as she ascends to No. 1 in the Rolex world ranking. Meanwhile, Thompson, too, could take the $1 million and Player of the Year. As those two battle for season-long prizes, a host of other notable names – Wie, Jutanugarn, Pettersen, Korda, Lewis and Charley Hull (-8) – will fight for the Tour Championship.

    Round of the day: Kaufman made four birdies on each side in a bogey-free 8 under-par 64. A lesser-known name on a stacked leaderboard, she seeks her first LPGA victory.

    Best of the rest: Amy Yang will start the final round two behind after a 7-under 65. The three-time LPGA Tour winner could pick up her second title of the season after taking the Honda LPGA Thailand in February.

    Biggest disappointment: On a day that featured plenty of low scores from plenty of big names, Lydia Ko dropped 11 spots down the leaderboard into a tie for 23rd with a Saturday 72. The former world No. 1 needed two birdies in her last five holes to fight her way back to even par. Winless this season, she’ll start Sunday four back, at 6 under.

    Shot of the day: I.K. Kim aced the par-3 12th from 171 yards when her ball landed on the front of the green and tracked all the way to the hole.

    Kim, oddly enough, signed her name to a scorecard that featured a 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7. It was all part of a 1-under 71.