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September 8, 2007

Aaron Baddeley


JOE CHEMYCZ: We welcome Aaron Baddeley in. Aaron, nice finish there, birdie, birdie, to gain a share of the lead. Talk a little bit about the comeback with birdies at 17 and 18, and we'll open it up for some questions.
AARON BADDELEY: I was very pleased finishing like that. I felt like I played nicely today. It was just a steady round. I wasn't really -- I mean, I made one good par putt from about 15 feet on No. 4, and besides that, I really felt like I played nicely and gave myself a lot of opportunities, which was great.
JOE CHEMYCZ: Bogey-free 65 for Aaron today, 11 of 14 fairways, 15 of 18 greens.

Q. How about the two birdies, the birdie-birdie finish? Did you know where you stood on the leaderboard and what they meant and so forth?
AARON BADDELEY: I actually had no idea where I was on the leaderboard. I wasn't looking at the board. I heard someone on 17 green in the gallery who was in the stands, I heard a roar on 18, like there it is, so I was assuming Steve Stricker made birdie. But I didn't know what he shot or what he was shooting.
I just wanted to finish birdie-birdie to give myself some momentum going into tomorrow. I thought that would give me -- I thought that would get me in the last group. I didn't know, but I thought that would get me in the last group, and I really wanted to be in the last group.

Q. That's what I was going to ask you about. This will be the second week in a row you've been in the last group and third time counting Oakmont here in the last couple months. Advantages or disadvantages or what goes on when you're in that last group? I guess at minimum you get a chance to answer.
AARON BADDELEY: I would say the best thing about being in the last group is you're in the last group so if someone from behind comes forward and makes a birdie and gets one ahead and you've still got a hole or two to play, then you still have the opportunity to be able to catch up or to make the birdie to tie him as opposed to trying to post a score early and sort of sitting and waiting.
Plus also when you're in the last group you're starting usually in front so you don't feel like a competitor is leading. But generally you're in the lead or tied for the lead so you don't have to go out and shoot the lowest score essentially. Well, you still have to shoot a good score, but you don't have to go out and shoot a really low score to beat someone else, if that makes sense. If you're leading, you know you can shoot 67 and so can someone else, and you can still win.

Q. Come-and-get-me kind of?

Q. What, if anything, did you learn from the final round of the U.S. Open that you think may be able to help you tomorrow?
AARON BADDELEY: I mean, there's a couple things that I learned. I mean, the biggest thing for me is just to continue to trust what I'm doing. Oakmont, that was just a great learning experience. Obviously I was a little disappointed but I was very encouraged with that week and how I played. And having the ability to be in that position, especially on that hard of a golf course, knowing that my game can be in that position on that tough of a golf course was very encouraging.

Q. But did you learn anything specifically from taking the lead into the final round?
AARON BADDELEY: Just make sure you get a good night's sleep (laughter).
I mean, I don't know. I've been in the lead before, so even though Oakmont was different, it being a major, it's still the same thing in the sense of you're in the lead of a golf tournament. I still go through my same routine. I'm not going to change anything. I learned some things as in things with my game being in that position in that big of a tournament that I will take into tomorrow. But I wouldn't say there's anything specific about being in the lead because it's still the same as being one behind. Does that make sense? I'm just sort of rambling a little bit (laughter).

Q. What about being paired with Steve and having Tiger behind you rather than playing with Tiger?
AARON BADDELEY: I really enjoy playing with Steve. I feel like I really got to know Steve in the last few months, and I think he's just one of the greatest guys out here. I get along great with his caddie, "T," and I'm really looking forward to it. I was really happy to see him win at Westchester. I'm looking forward to tomorrow. I think we're going to have a great time out there.

Q. Is it fair to say this is the best stretch of sustained play of your career?

Q. And how exciting is it waking up every day going out there and knowing that -- I guess you probably cannot wait for the next round.
AARON BADDELEY: Yeah, I definitely feel like that, even when I'm at home practicing. I really look forward to going out and practicing because I feel like I'm always going to improve. So when I come out to a tournament I really look forward to playing because I feel like I now have a game where I can play well, like a -- heading towards week in and week out, so it's exciting just that my game is going in that direction.
Like I said, I feel like I'm doing everything well, which is exciting and makes me want to go practice.

Q. You talked about the gallery tomorrow. Steve is from Wisconsin, which is nearby; he played at Illinois, has a huge following here. Tiger Woods, of course, is the king of golf basically, has a huge following. You know, you probably won't get a lot of roars tomorrow. Does that make a difference to you and can you kind of contrast that to when you won the Open back home the first time where I'm sure you probably had the crowd on your side at that point?
AARON BADDELEY: Yeah, I mean, you're got roars and then you've got Tiger roars and then you've got the hometown crowd roar and then you've got someone else's roar.
At Phoenix, definitely in Phoenix I had a lot of my friends and family out there, so that was -- I think that would be similar to what it will be like with Steve tomorrow, sort of like a hometown, sort of close by. But you could tell Steve's roars out there today. When he holed his second shot on 8, you just knew that was a Steve Stricker roar out there.

Q. Will that be a plus or minus for you? Does it make a difference?
AARON BADDELEY: I mean, the galleries are going to be decent sized so I've got to make sure I make the putt first (laughter).
JOE CHEMYCZ: Take us through the birdie at 17. What did you hit there? And the birdie at 18.
AARON BADDELEY: 17, I hit a little wedge to about 30 feet and made that putt.
And then 18, hit driver and a 9-iron from 161 to about -- I think ShotLink said it was four feet, 11 inches, and made that one, so that was nice.
JOE CHEMYCZ: Aaron, thanks.

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