By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
ATLANTA -- Aaron Baddeley went to Royal Melbourne in 1998 to watch the Presidents Cup.
Then 17 years old, he attended every day but one -- "It was too hot," Baddeley recalled -- and he remembers the week vividly. Like the time he spent watching Phil Mickelson hit bunker shots and when he asked David Duval's caddy what putter his boss was using.
Baddeley is three rounds away from knowing whether he gets to return to Royal Melbourne for the Presidents Cup in November – only this time as a member of his first International Team.
The 30-year-old is one of the players Greg Norman is considering for his two Captain's Picks. He'll announce his decision on Tuesday and Baddeley certainly made a strong case for himself with a solid 68 in the first round of the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola.
"This is an important week," Baddeley acknowledged. "It's just a matter of trying to put that out of your mind and and just playing because if you keep focusing on that you're going to forget about playing golf."
Playing well like he did on Thursday helps, too. If you get in contention and "have a chance to win then you're going to get more mixed up in that as opposed to worrying about what Greg's thinking," the Aussie said.
Baddeley said he talked with Norman on Monday about 24 hours after he closed with a 67 to tie for 22nd at the BMW Championship. With spots in the TOUR Championship and Presidents cup on the line, Baddeley said Sunday “was probably more pressure than I've felt in a while."
Baddeley said the telephone call didn't add any pressure because "I knew he was going to watch anyway.” One thing Baddeley doesn't know, though, is when Norman will tell his two choices they’re on the team.
"All I know is that he's announcing on Tuesday and he's the captain, and Frank's the vice captain and he's got two picks," the grinning Baddeley said, sounding a bit like Sergeant Schultz in the TV show “Hogan's Heroes.” "And it's at Royal Melbourne. That's all I know."