Baddeley victory adds to Australia’s ‘winning’ era
It’s been five years since he last savoured victory on the PGA TOUR and in doing so again this week, Aaron Baddeley gave us a reminder of how it used to be after he burst onto the scene as a precocious teenager nearly 17 years ago, winning the Australian Open as a 19-year old amateur.
35-year old Baddeley holed a snake of a putt on the 4th playoff hole, just like he always seemed to do with monotonous regularity, to take out the Barbasol Classic and resurrect a career that had been starting to flicker over the past few years.
Aaron Baddeley celebrates his first PGA Tour win in four years (Credit: Barbasol Championship)
Baddeley was the second Australian (Greg ‘Snake’ Chalmers won at the Barracuda Championship) inside a month to win on the PGA TOUR, the second to do so in an opposite field event to a WGC or major championship and the second to rise from the ashes and secure their future for at least the next two years.
Baddeley and Chalmers, both dual Australian Open champions, are just the latest Aussies to win around the world in what is becoming an era in our history to appreciate and savour.
When Adam Scott won the first Masters Tournament for himself and for Australia in April 2013, we talked up long and hard how the ‘Adam Scott Effect’ might have a spinoff to his fellow professionals.
I think we can safely say that phenomena has materialised when you consider the number of players to have won in the US and Europe alone since that Green Jacket was won.
Jason Day’s rise over the past two years has been nothing short of phenomenal having won 9 times since January 2014, including his first major championship, two WGC events and a Players Championship.
He is the world’s number one player and will defend two important titles, the Canadian Open and the PGA Championship, over the next fortnight.
The torch bearer in Scott hasn’t done too badly himself, with four more PGA TOUR titles to his credit since becoming a Masters champion.
Two of those came in back-to-back weeks earlier this season on the Florida swing wielding his new short putter as well as anyone.
Adding to the victory list in the US is Steve Bowditch (twice), John Senden, Matt Jones, Geoff Ogilvy, Greg Chalmers and now Baddeley, while on the European Tour we’ve had winners in Brett Rumford (twice), Andrew Dodt, Marcus Fraser, Marc Leishman and Scott Hend (twice) over the same period.
Hend also seems to win every other week on the Asian Tour and will become a proud Olympian alongside Fraser in Rio next month.
Not since the days of Greg Norman have we seen so many acceptance speeches featuring Australian accents, but the difference these days is that we have so many more players doing the winning than at any other time.
It’s an era in Australian men’s golf that we should be acknowledging a lot more than we are for what it is: one of the best of our time.