Aaron Baddeley was on our radar the week past when he contended for the win in the Arnold Palmer Invitational.
This current season of the PGA Tour puts up in mind of the late 60s and 70s, when Aussie names were there every time you looked at the leaders in professional tennis and saw the names of Laver, Rosewall, Newcombe and Tony Roche lurking at or around the top for the men’s side, with Margaret Court and Evonne Goolagong on the women’s.
In golf for the past several years, perhaps a decade or two, we have been seeing Adam Scott, Jason Day, Marc Leishman, Cameron Smith and a couple others following the path blazed by Greg Norman.
Baddeley was not able to deliver in the fourth round of the Arnold Palmer, shooting a 74 after a 69 in the third round had him near the top of the leaderboard.
It is hard to gin up sympathy for a golfer who has earned over $US 20 million over a long career, but watching the final round of the Arnold Palmer, a remark by one of the commentators struck a chord with us.
We were listening to the feed from broadcaster NBC, when we heard Paul Azinger remark that Baddeley was playing in a shirt and hat with absolutely zero sponsor endorsements on either.
That is almost unheard of. When you look at some, with Sergio Garcia and Marc Leishman coming to mind, they look like traveling billboards. We almost expect them to tap in to finish out a hole, and then go pick up an “Eat at Joes” sandwich billboard for the walk to the next tee.
Baddeley was a stark contrast and we can think of no reason why no sponsor would want to attach their logo to his person.
We prefer to think that Baddeley has consciously decided not to accept body advertising out of respect for the sanctity of the game.
Still, we like to see him do well all the same and would vigourously cheer a few more PGA wins from the 37-year-old American born Australian.