__The last round is a tournament in itself. Andy Plummer
Had Aaron Baddeley held on Sunday to win the Open (big if!) , the most-talked about swing in golf would be on every golfer's lips this morning. But Stack & Tilt didn't quite make it. All three of the players who subscribe to Andy Plummer and Mike Bennett's New Tour Swing of our U.S. Open issue made the cut, and Badds, of course, led after three rounds. He finished T-13; Mike Weir was T-20, and Dean Wilson, T-51.
In the case of Baddeley, the big question is, did the swing give out, or was it simply the nerves of a 26-year-old faced with the baddest course in America. On Saturday, Baddeley gave credit to Plummer and Bennett:
Q. Can you take us through the maturation you referred to of when your swing and confidence kicked in, when you got better, why you're better and so forth?
AARON BADDELEY: I would say in October, November, 2005, I was out working with Andy Plummer and Mike Bennett, and ever since I started working with them, there's really been an upward curve of improvement of driving the ball in the fairway, hitting better iron shots. Yeah, I mean, that's just been a constant improvement, and I feel like every time I go to practice with them or even by myself, I know exactly what I need to work on. And I just feel like I'm going to keep improving because of what I'm working on.
So editor Peter Morrice got back to Andy Plummer yesterday to get Plummer's recap....
Plummer talked about how the swing stacked up against the Oakmont rough:
"If you know the mechanics, if you get the tilt right, the angle of descent into the ball gets steeper, so it's perfect for hitting out of deep rough.Then, the standing up to the finish helps the club get out of the rough."
In the end, it was the stage, not the swing, Plummer said, that caused the downfall:
"With Aaron, it was one of those cases where the ball got rolling in the wrong direction. He hit a couple of bad drives, but so did everyone else.You see how a few missed putts can really be the difference. The triple on the first hole derailed him, but he was still right there. He hit his driveright, then tried to play to the right-front of the green because the ball feeds left from there. Maybe he made a tactical error there, trying to gettoo precise with the second shot, and the ball got hung up in the rough. From that spot, he knew it would be tough to make bogey."
"The lesson for Aaron is to understand how long a major really is. It's like 10 tournaments in one. So much drama happens just in a final round, so many ups and downs. The last round is like a tournament in itself."
(photo: J.D. Cuban)