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April 11, 2007

Aaron Baddeley


DOUG MILNE: We'd like to welcome defending champion Aaron Baddeley in. Aaron, off to a good year so far at the FBR in Scottsdale earlier in the year, and Top 10s and both of the World Golf Championships so far. Just a couple of general comments about returning back to here.
AARON BADDELEY: I think this year has been a nice year. It's really been a flow on from last year. I feel like my game has gone up a few levels even from this time last year. I'm excited to be back. There's a lot of good memories here in Hilton Head of being my first Tour win and that last putt made on the last green. The ceremony Monday was pretty cool because it was the first time I've been back on the 18th green since that Sunday. It was exciting to be back.
DOUG MILNE: The fact that you're 7th in the FedExCup race, is that something you've got your eye on?
AARON BADDELEY: That's something you keep on eye on to see where you're at, but I guess I'm just trying to play good golf and that sort of takes care of itself. If you play well, have Top 10s and win a few events, the FedExCup is going to take care of itself.

Q. Talk about the Monday ceremony. Did you have a difficult time hitting the golf ball with all the things going on, and how well did you hit it?
AARON BADDELEY: It was a really cool ceremony. It was the first time I've ever been a part of anything like that. My wife and I were just talking while we were walking about this is really cool. That cannon is so loud. You sort of expect it to be loud, but it's louder than what you think is going to be. I think I flinched, like whoa. I thought I hit it pretty good, pretty solid. A little on the heel but it was all right.

Q. What has come from this victory from last year? Did you take more confidence into the next few weeks, and has that kind of blossomed over time?
AARON BADDELEY: I would say I definitely took more confidence into the next few weeks because I was making changes with my golf swing at the time, and that was sort of like mid-change so it really gave me confidence in what I was doing was right. And then it just gave me confidence to know that if I play well, I can win out here. This may sound silly, but is there a different feeling when you're out on Tour being a winner and not being a winner?
AARON BADDELEY: There is, sure. One, you're not worried about trying to play well to like keep your job, and the other one is just that you're a proven winner so when you get into position, you feel very comfortable being in that same position. And the guys who haven't won, they're feeling what you did before that.
I'd say you're sort of a little up ahead if you're coming down the stretch with someone who hasn't won before.

Q. Did you call on your experiences here last year when you were coming down the stretch at FBR in contention?
AARON BADDELEY: Absolutely. Just the fact that I had won and played well coming down the stretch, like birdieing 14 and 15 here last year, two of the hardest holes on Tour, things like that, where I knew I needed to make some birdies down the stretch at FBR, so for sure I drew on that experience.

Q. Once you won out here, what do your goals go to then? Is it more just victories in bigger events, or how have you kind of approached your goals since the two victories?
AARON BADDELEY: I would say like this year my main goals were to have a multiple-win season, two wins in a season, and then like to finish in the Top 30 on the FedExCup points. My two goals I think would be really good if I achieved those two goals. Obviously now, top 15 in the world, I get to play in the majors and World Golf Championships, so I definitely focus on those and get myself prepared to one those of those events, as well.

Q. What have you seen of the golf course so far and how do you think it'll play if we have a little bit of moisture today and on Saturday night?
AARON BADDELEY: I haven't been out there yet. I was pretty tired from last week and stayed back and watched Zach win, so that was pretty special. I was so proud of him. I was so pumped for him.
So we got here late Monday so I sort of hit some balls and practiced yesterday and today I'll go and have a look at the course.

Q. You and Zach are pretty close?
AARON BADDELEY: We're good friends. We met back when we first came on Tour in '04. Yeah, I mean, Zach, being a Christian, and myself a Christian, we sort of met through the Bible studies. Yeah, he's awesome, a great guy.

Q. Would you talk about as far as did you meet him -- you met him first on the course, but you have your Bible studies. Every week do you guys have Bible studies on Tour?
AARON BADDELEY: Pretty much every week we'll have -- yeah, it's unusual if we don't have a study, a Bible study, for the week. Larry Moody is the guy who leads it normally. Yeah, that's sort of like -- I guess we met through there and we sort of created a friendship through that, and also being on the course. We sort of work on similar things in our swings, as well. Yeah, he's just -- we always see each other in the fitness trailer. Zach is just a quality guy, and what you see is what you get. He's just as true as they come.

Q. Are you going to have a study this week?
AARON BADDELEY: Yeah, tonight. It's always Wednesday nights.

Q. (Inaudible.)
AARON BADDELEY: I don't know exactly what we're doing tonight. Larry is leading it, so you'll have to ask Larry.

Q. Through the last few years we've heard so much about golf is a singular game when you're out there playing. We've heard a lot about team Tiger and who Phil has around him. How much does it help to have friendships like yourself and Zach and Vaughn Taylor, guys like that, who you know from week to week and you can kind of talk over things?
AARON BADDELEY: It's absolutely important. Out here can be very lonesome if you don't have some friends you can talk to because everyone sort of does their thing at the course, leaves here to go back to the hotel room. I have some friends to have dinner with, just to be able to chat with on the practice range, if you're struggling or to just talk to things, just to be able to bounce ideas off them or just hang out, be friends. I think it's very important.

Q. Have you been able to speak with Zach yet?
AARON BADDELEY: I just saw him, yeah. It was the first time I've seen him since Sunday night. Yeah, it was pretty cool.

Q. A year ago at this time you were kind of looking for that PGA TOUR victory to kind of validate some of the early expectations about your career. A year later Sports Illustrated picks you to win The Masters, which maybe wasn't such a good thing given that that's like a jinx. But have you had time to kind of reflect on or do you feel differently a year later, not only about yourself, but can you tell the difference in the way you're perceived in the golf world by writers or fellow golfers?
AARON BADDELEY: The biggest difference is how I feel, mainly. That is, I feel like my game is at two, three, four, five levels more than it was 12 months ago. Everything I'm working on is going towards where I want to go to. I've got the tools that I need to get to where I want to go. Perceived in the golf world? I guess it's probably a little different now than it was before I won Verizon. Some guys are sort of seeing that I can get into contention, and when I do get into contention I can win when I get in contention, which is pretty cool.
But I don't know. I mean, it doesn't really -- to me it doesn't matter what people think about me. People can write whatever they want to write and they can say whatever they want to say. I believe in what I'm doing and I believe in where I'm going, and that's not going to deter me what people say or think or write.

Q. Just how are you playing coming in, and do you think you'll be able to kind of feed off of last year's success in the same place?
AARON BADDELEY: Definitely. When you come back to somewhere where you've played well before, you remember the shots you hit well, you remember the nice shots you've played. You do get a feeling about playing well. I know there's been courses where I've gone and I haven't played well leading into the tournament but then played well because I played well in the past.
I feel my game is quite good. Even though I didn't score that well last week, I still feel like I'm playing quite nicely. I'm looking forward to tomorrow.

Q. When you look back on last year, when did it all come together for you here at Harbour Town? Was there a particular shot or particular moment when you said I'm in this and I'm going to be in this until the end?
AARON BADDELEY: I would say that my second nine, which was the the front nine, on Thursday, because I played really nice on the front and got nothing out of it. I think I shot 1-under, and then I shot 6-under on the back nine. I made a few putts, and I thought, something clicked here, hang on a second. Then I played nicely the second day and holed my second shot at 18. I thought there was something going on. The back nine on Thursday was really what got my -- I started thinking.

Q. Kind of take us through, you said you were mid-swing change here last year. Maybe take us through what you hoped to achieve with the change and where it is right now and how you feel about the whole process.
AARON BADDELEY: I would say like the two main changes I worked on was staying more centered over the golf ball and getting my hands a little bit lower on the backswing. They were probably the two main changes.
And then right now I'm pretty much past all my changes, just sort of just more refining, getting a couple of small pieces in there just to make it a little bit better. There's really nothing major to do anymore. It's like all the things I needed to get done are done, it's just more keeping track of it. I feel very comfortable with where my swing is at and where it's going.
DOUG MILNE: Thank you very much.

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