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Caught somewhere between the young guns (i.e. Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, etc.) and the old guard (i.e. Vijay Singh, Tom Lehman, etc.), Aaron Baddeley, age 30, has experienced all of the highs and lows that routinely follow the pursuit of PGA glory.
After exploding onto the Australian scene back in 1999 and 2000 with back-to-back Australian Open wins, Baddeley struggled to experience the same kind of success in the United States until finally breaking through at the 2006 Verizon Heritage. He has since added two more PGA titles to his name including the 2007 FBR Open and the Northern Trust Open back in February of this year.
And in those times when Baddeley considered putting away the clubs for good, it was always his strong belief that the sport was more than a profession but rather a calling that kept him plodding away on the links.
Bonham: Were you intimidated when you first started to play alongside some of your heroes?
Baddeley: I can’t say I was really that intimidated when I first came over because I had confidence in my ability to play the game. Phil Mickelson was a good friend to me early on. We used to practice together a lot in Scottsdale. I also played with Greg Norman when I was younger. I got to stay at his house in Florida, so that helped me get over being star struck. When I played in the Masters for the first time, I was paired up with Tiger (Woods) and I really enjoyed it. I wanted to go play. I wanted to show Tiger that I could play the game.
Bonham: I read once that you almost the gave up the game.
Baddeley: After I won my first Australian Open, about 10 months later I wanted to quit the game because I was playing terrible. I really got away from what I enjoyed doing and how much I loved playing the game. Then I got back to my goals and started focusing on what I wanted to achieve. Two months later I won the Australian Open again.
Bonham: Do you see yourself playing the golf for a long time?
Baddeley: For right now, I’ve been called to golf. That’s where the Lord’s got me. Until He tells me otherwise, that’s where I’m going to stay.
Bonham: Your nickname is “Badds.” Isn’t that a little ironic considering the high moral standards you’ve set for yourself?
Baddeley: My friends called me that nickname growing up. It’s sort of catchy. But my life is all about following the Lord and doing what’s right.
Bonham: Tell me about the dating vow you took when you were still single.
Baddeley: God called me to give up dating for nearly six months. Through the six months I learned so much about dating and about myself, but most of all about my relationship with God. It really grew over that time and from then on I have been growing closer to the Lord always. The long term benefit was the obedience that was learned. God asks us to be obedient to His call and His commands. Through the dating vow I learned the importance of obedience (to G0d).