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March 18, 2004

Aaron Baddeley


TODD BUDNICK: Thanks, Aaron, for joining us today, 4 under 6. Let's first talk about course conditions today. It looks like you guys are going a little lower than maybe one might think they would out here.

AARON BADDELEY: The course is drying up a lot but the greens are still pretty receptive at the moment. So the course is a little receptive at the moment. If it blows a little this afternoon, the greens are going to get firmer again.

TODD BUDNICK: Your game, 11 of your last 13 rounds are par or better; runner up at Tucson three weeks ago; you have three Top 25s in seven events this year. Are you happy with your start so far?

AARON BADDELEY: The start has been good. I've been very patient for the year. I feel my game, starting in Hawaii, I felt my game was really close there and I've been making some really good progress. I know I'm working on the right things. It's part of being patient and just waiting for it to click. In this game, it does, it just clicks. I'm being patient at the moment.

TODD BUDNICK: You've earned enough money to get close to keeping your card for next year already. A lot less pressure than last year.

AARON BADDELEY: Well, last year I got off to a really good start, finishing second in Hawaii. But that's certainly not my focus. If you're aiming down here and you don't quite achieve, you're down here. But if you aim up here and you achieve just to here, you achieve better. So my aim is very high. I want to get to the Masters, so I have to play well this week and next week.

Q. I'm sure you've worked with Lead this week, what, if anything, has he had to say to you?

AARON BADDELEY: Not much. He's like basically, just keep working on what we've been working on and "looks good, go play."

Q. As a follow up to that, late last year he said, and you admitted, that driving accuracy was the weak link in your game. How has that been this year?

AARON BADDELEY: It's improving. Today I hit 11 fairways. So that's definitely improving. Certainly it's easier playing from the short grass than from the rough.

Q. Have you played at all with Nick Flanagan? Do you know him very well?

AARON BADDELEY: I haven't played I don't think I've played at all with him. We both played an amateur event together but to be honest, I haven't played at all or seen him play.

Q. From your perspective how big is Tiger, he's won four in a row, going for five; is that something that you could conceive doing out here at some point in time?

AARON BADDELEY: Yeah. I don't see it's pretty impressive to win four in a row and to be going for five in a row is pretty impressive. But, I mean, this course suits his game and this sort of course suits my game as well. If you get on a course where you feel very comfortable and you like it, it's funny you could be playing every tournament for weeks and start playing good because you just get good vibes going back there.

I think it was the second year he won and he wasn't really playing that well . Just you get those vibes, and he had some good shots he did hit there and played good.

Q. With what he's got at stake this week, how much does it catch attention when he's soaring up the leaderboard?

AARON BADDELEY: You just expect it. That's just known. That's unusual if you don't see his name on the board. I was playing and I wasn't really focusing on him. All I can do is worry about my little golf ball and whoever shoots the lowest score is going to win. So I think I'm off to a good start, play good and have a chance on Sunday.

Q. There's a trend in many other sports that younger and younger stars are developing, and in golf, while there's great talent in the 20s, it's very difficult to break through. What are the challenges of being a young age out here?

AARON BADDELEY: I think one is getting adjusted, because growing up for me, playing around in Australia or when you travel overseas you travel with a team, and then all of a sudden you're out there by yourself. It's getting adjusted to that. It's learning what works for you.

I mean, I know like some guys don't practice much at a tournament while others will practice a lot and it's finding that balance, what works for you. There's so many other factors than just playing golf. It's working out your game, where to play, where to eat, there's so much more than just golf. When you play as an amateur on a team, your team goes here for dinner, you go there for dinner or whatever. You've just got to find things out for yourself. There's a few more distractions, I guess you could say.

Q. Why are you driving it better this year?

AARON BADDELEY: Technique is getting better. To maintain that is getting a lot better. I'm feeling more comfortable with the driver. I've been working with guys from MacGregor working with the new driver and tinkering with the shaft. I feel really comfortable with this driver and I feel like I can go ahead and hit it as hard as I want it.

Q. How long have you been playing it?

AARON BADDELEY: The driver? Since September last year. It was a prototype and this is the new one they have come out with that I'm using which I started using about a month ago.

Q. How much would it hurt not to get to Augusta?

AARON BADDELEY: Well, I mean, that's a goal. If it doesn't happen, it doesn't happen. I'm not going to sit and sulk. I'm going to go and work hard on my game and get better so I make sure I'm there the following year. Then I've got the U.S. Open coming up. There's always thing s you don't need to focus on the things that don't happen. You focus on what's going to happen.

Q. Do you have any sense of what you need to do to get there?

AARON BADDELEY: Top 10 on the Money List or Top 50 in the world. So basically, if I win, I'll be fine. So I'm planning on doing that.

Q. What kind of reaction have you gotten from the television commercial and what do you think when you see it?

AARON BADDELEY: It's something that you're going to remember. You're going to see it and you're going to remember it which is a really good point of view for the guys who designed the ad. It was fun to make. It was long to make but it was fun. I mean, it's different, put it that way. I'm surprised because I thought I would get a lot of ribbing, but I haven't, really, which surprising. Just a bit of "Badds!" and a bit of this (waving hands in air).

Q. Do you think you now have a future as an actor?

AARON BADDELEY: No. No. We did so many takes and stuff, put it this way, it's like, "okay, just do it like that." So we do this like that. "No, a little bit more like this." I was all over the shop.

TODD BUDNICK: Thank you.


End of FastScripts.

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