Clothes Dont Make This Man

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Aaron Baddeley is all about the three Gs: God, golf and gaudy attire.
 
The first two are not up for debate. Baddeley is steadfast in his faith and his love of the game.
 
The third one, however, is a very subjective topic.
 
I like to wear brighter clothes and louder clothes, Baddeley explained for the bazillionth time at this years PGA Championship.
 
In a sport saturated with khakis and solids, where Dockers and Polo are preferred, Baddeley is among the fashion rebels.
 
His duds make a statement ' one that is up for interpretation.
 
If you see me dress off the course, it is similar to this, he said while decked out in a form-fitting, eggplant-colored shirt with matching plaid pants. I wear white shoes. I wear white belts. I wear funky clothes.
 
That is how I want to dress.
 
Dresses just happens to be Baddeleys nickname on tour ' as in Aaron Dresses Baddeley.
 
His dress seems contradictory to his demeanor. He's far more reserved than his attire would indicate, and spends far more time quoting the Scripture than talking about his successes.
 
'I'm just comfortable wearing those kind of clothes. I know it's different, but it's what I like,' Baddeley said.
 
Joseph had his coat of many colors; Aaron has his pants.
 
His most memorable outfit ' all courtesy of designer Johan Lindeberg, who also clothes Jesper Parnevik, Charles Howell III and Fredrik Jacobson ' of the 2003 season included a pair of retro purple-plaid pants that looked like Barney had combusted in a perfectly checkered pattern.
 
But it wasnt so much that those slacks stood out more than the rest of his clothes. It was the fact that those pants got plenty of national exposure.
 
Baddeley donned that getup in the final round of the Sony Open.
 
It was his first event as a card-carrying member of the PGA Tour. And, lo and behold, here he was battling Ernie Els ' the man who had just set a 72-hole tour scoring record the week prior at the season-opening Mercedes Championships ' for the title.
 
It wasn't just Baddeley's trousers that made a statement that Sunday, as the then 21-year-old Australian more than held his own against the three-time major winner.
 
He made an 18-foot birdie on the 72nd hole to force a playoff, where Els rolled in an improbable 55-footer for birdie on the second extra hole for victory.
 
I didnt lose that tournament. Ernie won that golf tournament, he later said.
 
Said Els: 'I thought the kid was going to go away, but he kept at me. Unlucky for Aaron, but he's going to win a lot of titles.'
 
Baddeley had made an immediate impression on his peers and fans. The boy who defeated Greg Norman and Colin Montgomerie in winning the 1999 Australian Open as an amateur and again the following year as a professional now had a mans game.
 
He gained vauluable experience the previous year on the Nationwide Tour, where he tied for 10th on the money list after failing for the second time to earn his PGA Tour card through Q-School.
 
I had the best year of my life out there. I had so much fun out there. I made so many friends. It was awesome, he said, adding that he often plays practice rounds with others who graduated from the developmental tour in 2002, and keeps track of where they stand on the leaderboard.
 
Its just such a good atmosphere out there ' its a good way to grow up.
 
With a mantra of Aim high so your miss is better, Baddeley started the year with goals of winning a tournament and finishing in the top 30 on the money list.
 
He was well on his way to accomplishing both following a sixth-place finish at Bay Hill when he rolled his ankle while playing ultimate frisbee ' a hybrid game of football and soccer, played with a Frisbee ' in March.
 
He would try and make a comeback at the Shell Houston Open in April, but withdrew after an opening 78. He didnt make a full return until the FedEx St. Jude Classic in late June.
 
Still, he was not fully recovered.
 
Baddeley went three more months until he was able to again crack the top 10. He posted bookend 62s to finish fifth in the Valero Texas Open.
 
By years end, he found himself without the expected victory and 73rd on the money list.
 
This year wasnt too bad, but a little too inconsistent than I would have liked, he said as his rookie season was winding down at the Chrysler Championship.
 
Before my injury I was playing good. It was just hard getting back into playing mode. Its been a process, but I feel like Im almost back to where I was.
 
Baddeley knows that had it not been for that injury then he may well have reached the goals he had set.
 
But hes philosophical about the incident.
 
It allowed me time to do a lot of the things I wouldnt otherwise have been able to do, he said.
 
Baddeley, who holds dual American and Australian citizenship as he was born in New Hampshire before his family moved back Down Under when he was 2, spent those three months off the tour in Bible study, catching up with his family in Melbourne, Australia (he has a U.S. home in Scottsdale, Ariz.), and routinely speaking at his church.
 
That was the good part, he said.
 
The worst was I couldnt run for six months. I love running, love playing ultimate frisbee, and love basketball. I couldnt do any of that.
 
Baddeley is now 22 years of age. He has cropped his hair from that shaggy, bleached-blonde look he featured most of the year.
 
He believes his game to be back on track and is ready to showcase it this week as he vies for his third Australian Open title.
 
As for next year, Baddeley hopes to get off to a good start so that he can break into the top 50 on the Official World Golf Ranking.
 
I want to get in as soon as possible, and then I can plan (my schedule) around the majors, he said.
 
His other goals?
 
I still want to win a tournament and finish in the top 30 on the money list. Same as this year, he said.
 
So keep an eye out for Aaron Baddeley in 2004. Then again, you cant miss him.
 
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