Baddeley-mania hits the USA

Aaron Baddeley has beaten the best once down under, now he is after a US victory

Thu, 9 Mar 2000

Australian Sensation Aaron Baddeley will tee it up today for the first time in a US PGA Tour event.

The young Australian has spent the last week at Greg Norman's house in Jupiter, Florida, soaking up the atmosphere and preparing for an assault on the Honda Classic title this week and then moves on to claim his place at August a National for The Masters.

"It has always been my ambition to play the US Tour," Said Baddely. "It is something I have dreamed of since I began playing golf when I was 12 years old. Now it is has become a reality."

Norman has played a huge role behind the scenes helping Baddeley get to grips with turning Professional. But the young star who cheekily stole the Australian Open away from Colin Montgomerie back in November 1999, will wait until October until he makes the decision to play as a Pro.

This year will see Baddeley tee up at The Masters and already his company has been requested by Norman, Faldo and Duval for practice rounds at Augusta.
He will also compete in the US Open as part of his 'no money prize' for winning the Aussie Open and those events, coupled with approximately another six in the USA and Europe will help him to decide to turn Professional.

"I have the opportunity this year to find out whether I can mix it with the best players in the world. These tournaments will tell me if I am ready or not," Said the young star.

IMG, the Management Company run by Mark McCormack has been in talks with Baddeley, so have many other agencies. The 18-year old is the hottest property since Tiger Woods and Sergio Garcia and as soon as he turns professional, Baddeley will be an overnight millionaire.

Garcia and Baddely are great buddies since they met down under on the Australian Tour and Baddeley is learning Spanish to reinforce their friendship. Garcia has told him what to watch for when he turns pro, but the best advice has come form compatriot and mentor Greg Norman.

Norman has advised him well so far and has warned Baddeley about the pitfalls of Professional golf and told him to keep his close friends near to him and stay around the people he loves if he wants to make a killing on the golf scene.

Baddely will try and emulate Phil Mickelson to become the next amateur to win on the USPGA Tour when he tees up today in the Honda Classic. But he will have to beat some experienced names in Vijay Singh, Davis Love and Mark Calcavecchia. But he has done that before hasn't he?

The world awaits the young star to shine.



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