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The Good, the Badds and the Ugly
MICHAEL BAMBERGER
June 25, 2007
Ask Aaron Baddeley what he scored at Oakmont, and he'll tell you 100%
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June 25, 2007

The Good, The Badds And The Ugly

Ask Aaron Baddeley what he scored at Oakmont, and he'll tell you 100%

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Yes, Baddeley shot an 80, but he never quit, he never looked like he was trying to get out of Tiger's way, and he never looked like he didn't belong. Baddeley has an appealing calmness. "There's a wisdom there," says his coach. Baddeley is only 26, but what Plummer says rings true.

Baddeley--whose father, Ron, was once the chief mechanic for Mario Andretti--is on a team, with Bender and Plummer and Aaron's wife, Richelle. All the way around, Baddeley could hear Richelle, blonde and bouncy, cheering him on. "I was so proud," she said, "because he was giving 110 percent."

The husband is not one for hyperbole. "My goal was to give 100 percent on every shot, and I did," said Baddeley, a world-class talent at 18 who endured a long slump before winning at Hilton Head on Easter Sunday last year. "Two years ago, I wouldn't have had the character to do that. I would have folded under the pressure of playing with Tiger and trying to win the U.S. Open. I didn't do that. I putted poorly. The swing wasn't quite there a few times, but the effort was 100 percent." His character has improved, he said, as he has become an increasingly devout Christian.

If Tiger intimidated his playing partner, the playing partner would not admit it. There was almost no conversation between them, but Baddeley watched Tiger closely. "I saw how he never putts until he's really ready," Baddeley said. "That's something I need to work on."

He'll see more of Tiger next month at Congressional, at the new Tiger event, the AT&T National. He'll see him again later in July at the British Open at Carnoustie.

The two players had a brief exchange on the 18th green-- Tiger isn't into commiserating, especially when he has just lost--and headed to the scorer's room in the clubhouse. To get there they had to climb a tall flight of wooden steps, painted green. Baddeley, despite a long day at the office, led the way, bounding up the steps by twos. He looked eager to get the 80 behind him, and excited for whatever comes next.

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