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September 7, 2007

Aaron Baddeley


JOE CHEMYCZ: We welcome Aaron Baddeley into the interview room, Aaron with a 6-under par 65 today. Just some solid play the first two days, 28 of 36 greens in regulation, so obviously your irons are very good this week, and it's not a stat that's been good for you throughout the course of the year. It's usually 59, 60 percent, and this week it's closer to 80 percent. Can you just talk about that?
AARON BADDELEY: Yeah, I don't know, I feel like that's sort of where it's been going. I've been hitting the ball better all year, and my misses are getting straighter, and this week I've just been hitting the irons -- I was just saying that's a bit misleading, because I missed three about by an inch, so I'm hitting the ball very nice. I feel like I have very good control over the trajectory and the shape of the shot. I feel very comfortable with my golf swing.

Q. Can you talk a little bit about the wind and how it affected you guys out there today?
AARON BADDELEY: Yeah, the wind is very -- it's pretty strong. The good thing about the wind, a lot of times it's into us or down. It's not very often that it's like straight across, which makes it a little easier to get the yardage right and to give yourself a birdie opportunity because when the wind is across, it's harder to judge if it's a little bit helping, a little bit into, which makes a big difference. The wind straight in or straight down makes it a lot easier. And then the greens being receptive, it makes it easier again just to help with the wind, and you know when it hits the green it's going to stop.

Q. At the time of the delay, you hit that birdie run right after that. Did that affect you at all?
AARON BADDELEY: I was on the 14th tee, and yeah, so I came back and started nicely after the break with three birdies, so that was good. I was very pleased to start like that.

Q. Is it a mixed bag to climb all the way up to the end of the final group on the final day? You've done it a couple times, Oakmont and last week, and not succeeded. Or is it a confidence booster merely to be in that position in the first place? Is it a mixed bag?
AARON BADDELEY: I would say it's a confidence booster when you're playing that well. You always like to go ahead and finish off the week with a win, but as I said, the more often you're in that position, if you keep giving yourself opportunities, you're going to win your fair share of events, just because you're in that position all the time.
Last week I felt like I played well, just couldn't quite make enough putts on the weekend.

Q. How is the course playing? Would you guys rather have wind and wet conditions or no wind and firm and fast?
AARON BADDELEY: I would say no wind and firm and fast, just because it -- when the greens get firm, even with no wind, you've still got to hit the ball very precisely because of the slopes on the greens, and when the ball is bouncing five, ten yards into the green, you've got to be precise with your distance control. But when it's a little softer you can be a little more aggressive and go at the pins, where a pin that you might not go at normally if the greens were firm, with the softer greens you can go straight at it.

Q. I know this is not exactly the way you're wired, but in the back of your mind, is there any part of you that's saying, "ha-ha, Gary Player, take that"?

Q. Come on.
AARON BADDELEY: There's not, no, sorry (smiling).
I mean, I've been asked about the Presidents Cup, and I just felt like I didn't play well enough to force my way onto the team. I was like right there, 10th or 11th for most of the year, and to not make the team was disappointing. I felt like I was playing well, I just wasn't getting it going. It's just one of those things.

Q. It seems like Golf Digest is featuring the new swing virtually every month. How long did it take for you to get that down, and do you think it's a swing that a 15-handicapper like me would be able to understand and be able to play with?
AARON BADDELEY: I would say the biggest thing that I did, I'm very analytical. That's the way my brain is wired. So I sat down with them and spoke to them for like six hours before we hit any balls, understanding why -- everyone teaches you how to take the club outside on the way back, then they say take it inside, then they say stay centered. Everyone else teaches to go back to the right side, all these different things.
I understand the reason behind it. They showed me a lot of pictures, they showed me a lot of things. So then when I went out and practiced and worked on it, it really didn't take that long because I already understood the reason why we're doing it and had a very good image of what I was trying to work on.
So I went and practiced with them and then two weeks later went and finished fifth at the Australian Open. It didn't take me long to see improvements, it just took a little bit of time just to be totally comfortable with it, to understand it more and more, where now I feel like I know it well enough to where I totally understand every shot that I hit and know what causes -- if I mis-hit a shot, I know what the problem is.
And then for a 15-handicapper, I think it's really good. It makes it really simple. I watched the guys teach a guy in Scottsdale who would top the ball, hit it five yards, I mean, really poor, and in two days this guy was hitting it really nice. Like I was blown away by the change. He couldn't take a divot before, and then in two days he was taking divots, hitting these drivers up in the air. I was like, whoa, that's pretty impressive.

Q. How strange was it for you at first not to make a turn back, pretty much stay centered over the ball?
AARON BADDELEY: It felt a little bit different, but immediately I saw where my shape back about three years ago before I started working with them, or two years ago, wasn't very consistent. It was like a little bit of fade, little bit of draw. Straight away I started hitting a little draw, little draw, little draw. To me it felt like I didn't need to make any extra moves.
I remember working with some coaches prior to that about getting to the right and then moving all the way over to the left instead of just being where I wanted to be at impact and at the top. To me that just makes sense.
JOE CHEMYCZ: Aaron, thank you. Play well. See you tomorrow.

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