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March 20, 2003

Aaron Baddeley


JOAN vT ALEXANDER: Thank you, Aaron, for joining us for a few minutes.

Good round out there today. You got it to 5-under, had some tough conditions out there, but kept a good score at 3 -under, and now you're right there in the lead with a group of about five players. Why don't you make a couple of comments about your round today, the conditions and we'll go into questions.

AARON BADDELEY: It wasn't easy out there today. The wind was blowing from the start. Coming in, the greens were really, really hard so you had to really -- even chipping the ball was not that easy out there.

I thought I played quite well. Drove it really well on the back nine. Putted and holed out well. I had a few close birdie opportunities and made those and made a couple of par saves. So overall I think it was a good day.

Q. Aussies are well-known for their wind game, and you played well earlier in Hawaii and Nissan in the wind one day, as well. Do you feel like you have an advantage when the wind kicks up?

AARON BADDELEY: I think so. Because growing up in Australia, it's unusual for you to get a still day. It's always blowing, always something. So you are always learning how to hold it up in the wind or keep it low. Even if it goes downwind, you can judge that as well. I think growing up, and just being used playing in the wind gives an advantage.

Q. Do you ever think about whether you might have won that tournament in Hawaii without the guy slamming the crapper door on 17 --

AARON BADDELEY: I thought about it but I was all settled and ready to go for the second time around, but I just missed it.

Q. After getting to 5-under, are you disappointed to slip back to 3?

AARON BADDELEY: Yeah, I was a bit disappointed. I hit a great shot on 15, I don't know how that ball went long. This is the longest. And 16 I was playing a bit of tennis back and forth. I hit it really good today. 3-under was the worst score I was going to shoot today.

Q. What exactly happened there on 16? What kind of lies did you have?

AARON BADDELEY: Well, I hit a 5-iron in there and the wind did not push it left. I had about an average lie on the right side and just came out a little hot, ran through. Like that shot there, with the greens getting hard and fast, or just hard, that they are hitting and running. You can't really stop it down the slopes. That was a tough shot and it ran through the green. Had an average lie on the side, hit it skinny, so I was playing a bit of tennis back and forth there.

Q. Not being from the United States, how much do you keep up with the war and what are your thoughts on what's happening?

AARON BADDELEY: It's interesting about what's happening. It's a tough situation and it is difficult to comment.

For me, I guess I probably won't travel as much this year depending on what happens. But, I mean, for myself, unless the war comes here, I'm just going to keep doing what I'm doing. You can't change your whole life just because something is going on. I mean, it is a tough situation and so you've got to trust your leaders and pray for your leaders and just believe in what they are doing.

Q. Were you affected at all by the tragedy in Bali?

AARON BADDELEY: I wasn't, no. I didn't know anyone that was killed there fortunately.

Q. You played with Tiger and O'Meara and Sergio a couple of years ago in a practice round?


Q. If you would have played a practice round with Tiger this year, what would he have noticed different about your game, not to mention your clothes.

AARON BADDELEY: He would notice, I think my golf swing is solid, more solid. I feel like I'm hitting really good at the moment. I guess just a little bit more mature, as in my game has evolved from where it was two years ago. It's just gotten better and it's improved. Every part of my game has improved and gotten better. Just a little bit more had a mature because I'm playing so much and learning how to play in different conditions and different courses and things like that.

Q. Have you ever been in a tournament that had more "young guns"? There's you and Justin Rose, Charles Howell, Tryon, Adam Scott, Nick Dougherty, it seems like they are all here. Do you guys feed off each other? Is it fun to see all of the young pups in the same place?

AARON BADDELEY: It's fun. Like last week, Scott and Justin were there with Charlie. So you can chat with them. Charlie and I hang out with Justin and Adam Scott. We all went down to the Bon Jovi concert. So it was a lot of fun to hang out with the guys, especially when they are your age, you can really -- like you pretty much know exactly what each other is thinking in a way.

Q. You three guys went to Bon Jovi on Friday night?


Q. Saturday, a little shaky round.

AARON BADDELEY: Yeah, that probably wasn't the best idea. Justin outplayed both me and Adam and shot 71. I shot 74 and Adam 76. No concerts this week. (Laughing).

Q. You got new irons, or relatively new?

AARON BADDELEY: Yeah. I got the MacGregor V-Foil blades. Basically going back to what I used to use a couple of years ago when I won all of my tournaments. Exact same head and they are the best irons, ever.

Q. Seems like we have seen a lot of guys today get to 4-under, 5-under, through 12, 13 and then back up a little bit coming down the stretch. What is it about 15, 16, 17, 18? , Is the wind making it harder today or just the holes themselves?

AARON BADDELEY: I heard that -- hit the 17th green in regulation. I hit the highest 6-iron I could hit and just carried on the green and still went over the green.

So, that makes it difficult. 18 is hard to get close to because where the pin is and how firm the green is. This golf course doesn't let up which is good. You're going to find out who is playing the best this week.

Q. Tiger has obviously had a lot of success here, do you keep up where he is at?

AARON BADDELEY: I have not usually. I have no idea what he shot today and it doesn't really bother me. Come Sunday, hopefully I'm in the lead.

Q. Do you have some difficulty after Hawaii, and if so, what was the problem, or just having trouble getting back to that level?

AARON BADDELEY: Well, it's really not a great or big deal of difference. At Phoenix I played great. I played great but just don't hole any putts.

The difference between playing really good, shooting 66 and 72 is not much. If you hole one putt here or there and all of a sudden two or three go in, it's not much difference at all, really. It's just a couple of things here and there, just a couple of saves, couple of putts and there's 66, thanks for coming.

Q. What are you taking out of this round, if there's one thing that you're really keeping in your mind, is it something your swing, your course --

AARON BADDELEY: Positive things of this round is that I hit it great. It was very patient and I putted well. If I can keep doing that, I think they'll have a good week.

Q. Do you consider yourself a rookie, so to speak?

AARON BADDELEY: Yes and no. I feel very comfortable out here because I have played like 20 events before I joined the Tour, basically. So I knew coming out here exactly what to expect. I knew some of the courses. I knew most of the guys out here. So, me coming out here wasn't a huge change in comparison to some other guys coming out and playing.

Q. You've been in the U.S. a good bit, too.


Q. Did you reflect a lot on the playoff loss at Sony and how long did it really take you to get over it?

AARON BADDELEY: Not that long, really. I mean, I didn't lose that golf tournament. Ernie won that golf tournament. I mean, when things are going your way, those putts that Ernie holed, those thing just happen.

And to win golf tournaments, when I won the Greg Norman international, I holed a 25-footer on the first playoff hole to win. So when things are going your way, things just happen, it's amazing how it all works like that.

Q. There's a generation of golfers enjoying Jack and Arnold perhaps playing together for the last time in a PGA TOUR event. Are they idols, or are you more of the Greg Norman, Nick Faldo -- guys that you followed?

AARON BADDELEY: For myself, Greg Norman, Nick Faldo, Nick Price are the ones I looked up to the most. You always look at what those guys have done and what they did was amazing in the game and something that a lot of people will continue to strive, to achieve both that same sort of level that both Arnie and Jack achieved.

JOAN vT ALEXANDER: Can we go through your round?

AARON BADDELEY: I birdied No. 2. I hit 6-iron to about three feet.

I eagled the par 5, fourth, 4-iron to about six feet.

I bogeyed the next I hit it in the right bunker, plug lie and just made bogey.

Birdied the par 5 next hole. Hit just a wedge from about 80 yards to about six feet.

9, hit 5-iron to about five or six feet .

I birdied the par 5, 12. I hit a 3-iron on the front edge and 2-putted.

On 15, hit a 7-iron in the back trap, plug lie, bogey.

Hit 5-iron just right of the green and chip, chip putt, bogey.

Q. Kind of sedate on the clothes today, for you.

AARON BADDELEY: This is Thursday.

Q. So it gets progressively -- okay.

AARON BADDELEY: (Smiling). But I've got the zippers (on the bottom of the pants). So if it's a little warm you can unzip it and get some air flowing up there, you know.

End of FastScripts....

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