Editors' BlogJune 17, 2007

Keeping watch

Getty Images

937971

Aaron Baddeley spent most of his youth watching golf on television, imagining that one day he would get to kiss a major championship trophy. Entering Sunday’s final round with a two-shot lead, he has that opportunity. __

“I've watched so much golf, I can tell you about what people wore, what they shot, everything,”__ said Baddely.__ “I loved watching the majors. I taped them and watched them over and over. I can recite commentary from when Nick Price won. I saw myself in that [winning] position, absolutely.”__

When he established himself as an up-and-coming star, by winning the Australian Open as an 18-year old, Baddeley made a conscious effort to watch the top players, alongside them in their practice rounds. “When I was young, I remember asking Greg Norman for a practice round,” said Baddeley. “I remember asking David Duval for practice rounds, because these guys were the best players in the world.” Even with two PGA Tour victories to his credit, Baddeley still makes an effort to watch the top golfers win. This April, he was watching the Masters finish on CBS, when he returned to Augusta National to see Zach Johnson win the Masters, in person. “We were at home watching the coverage, and when he birdied -- I think when he birdied 16, we were like five or ten minutes from the course,” said Baddeley. “We drove straight back to make sure we were there on the 18th.”

Today, as the leader heading into the U.S. Open’s final round, all the eyes will be on him. “Obviously I'm going to deal with some emotions because I've never been in this position before,” said Baddeley. “But I play golf, I've worked my whole life to be in this position so I'm going to embrace it.” But will Baddeley’s eyes be on the leader board? “It's not like Tiger and I are seven shots ahead of the rest of the field,” said Baddeley. “There's a few other guys at 5-over. I think it would be a mistake not to look at the boards.”

--Jeff Patterson

(Photo: Getty Images)

More from The Loop