Scott versus Baddeley
With back-to-back wins at the Australian Open, his Badds.com
website and his I'm-out-to-beat-Tiger-Woods media message, Aaron
Baddeley casts a long shadow. For now, Adam Scott is perfectly
happy to reside within it.
Take away the glitz, though, and the two 20-year-old boy wonders
from Down Under have much in common. Both have won a European
tour event this year. Both have stylish swings built for
distance. Both are 6'1" and 176 pounds. At the Honda Classic,
Baddeley missed his ninth cut in a row on the PGA Tour, shooting
76-69, while Scott made his first cut in four tries in the U.S.,
finishing a solid 13th, five shots behind winner Jesper Parnevik.
Baddeley was hardly discouraged. "You've got to view it as, I'm
not going to play well in all of them," he said, putting some
positive spin on his early exit even though he is now 40 over par
in 22 Tour rounds. His next start will be at the Masters, to
which he received a special invitation on March 5.
The reserved Scott had little to say about his play at the Honda.
He wasn't invited to Augusta but will play this week at Bay Hill,
where he will get another chance to gain ground on Baddeley's Q
Baddeley is almost a parody of the puffed-up modern athlete.
Packaged by Nike, he has a swing coach, a personal trainer, a
nutritionist and, at the Honda, two publicists. Badds.com is
chock-full of exclamations ("Q: 'Do you sing while walking down
the fairway?' A: 'Yes...always!'") and apprises fans of
Baddeley's affinity for the band Powderfinger, algae bars and
Britney Spears, as well as his abhorrence of bad fashion.
Anticipating that he will soon earn a Tour card, Baddeley has
bought a condo at Grayhawk Golf Club in Scottsdale, Ariz., where
he joins Phil Mickelson in high-stakes games.
Scott's intense but understated approach is closer to the
traditional Australian sports ethos. The best Scott's agent,
Anthony Castellaro of IMG, can do when asked to name his client's
most distinguishable characteristic is say that Scott "hates
cheese." But there's more to the young man than that. Scott says
he is interested in fashion. (He endorses the same apparel
company, J. Lindeberg, as retrochic Parnevik but prefers classic
ensembles.) Above all, fellow Australians consider Scott to be
Among his peers, Baddeley's self-assuredness is wearing thin.
"The kid is up himself," says one Aussie pro. Butch Harmon,
Scott's swing coach, let Baddeley have it in January. "He's a
nice enough young man, but he's a bit full of himself," Harmon
Baddeley responded by winning the Greg Norman Holden Invitational
two weeks later for his third pro victory, further testimony to
his knack for the dramatic. (He was 18 when he beat Norman and
Colin Montgomerie while winning the '99 Australian Open.) On Tour
his swing is much admired. "He's fundamentally one of the most
sound players you'll see," says Mickelson.
Scott's swing, taught to him by his golf-pro father, Phil, is
equally impressive. In speed, shape and follow-through it bears a
striking resemblance to Woods's. Last year at the European tour
stop in Belgium he led the field in driving distance and
accuracy. "He's a world-beater," says Dean Robertson of Scotland,
who narrowly lost to Scott at the Euro tour's Alfred Dunhill
Championship in Johannesburg in January. "Adam will win majors.
He'll compete against Tiger. Maybe not right now, but soon."
Scott downplays any rivalry with Baddeley. "I don't mind that he
has gotten more attention," he says. "He has won a bit more. He
has high expectations for how he plays over here."
Scott probably does too, but wisely, he isn't saying. That might
have something to do with why, at the moment, he's the one who's
TWO COLOR PHOTOS: DARREN CARROLL Baddeley has gotten the hype, but Scott (left) has the game.
COLOR PHOTO: JOHN BARD
COLOR PHOTO: W.T. HARRINGTON
COLOR PHOTO: STEVE SPATAFORE
Forget his three-putt on the final hole of the Honda, Mark
Calcavecchia will figure at the Masters. At 40, a wiser Calc is
also a better player from tee to green than he was in '88, when
Sandy Lyle edged him at Augusta, and the Claw putting grip has
transformed him into the birdie machine of old. That 256 at
Phoenix was no fluke.
What do these players have in common?
They're the only golfers to win Arnold Palmer's Bay Hill
Invitational and Jack Nicklaus's Memorial Tournament. Couples
won Bay Hill in 1992 and the Memorial in '98; Irwin won Arnie's
event in '76 and Jack's in '83; Woods took the Memorial in '99
and both events in '00.
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Mark Calcavecchia, who broke the Tour's four-round scoring record
at Phoenix, and Joe Durant, who bettered the five-round mark at
the Hope, aren't the only ones going low this year. Here are the
average strokes under par by those who made the cut in 2000 and
Mercedes +0.1 -8.4
Tucson -8.9 -5.3
Sony -0.2 -3.5
Phoenix -3.5 -5.3
Pebble Beach -3.7 -4.3
Buick -4.7 -8.1
Hope -16.9 -18.4
Nissan -2.7 -1.3
Genuity -9.1 -5.1
Honda -9.9 -10.0
David Cosper, Clearwater, Fla.
Cosper, 18, picked up his third junior title in two months at
the Melrose Classic, a Southeastern Junior Tour event on South
Carolina's Dawfuskie Island. He beat Brent Witcher, 14, of
Duluth, Ga., by two shots. Cosper also was victorious at the
Palm Coast (Fla.) Classic and the National Open High School
Rob Labritz, Fairfield, Conn.
Labritz, 29, won three events, including his first two starts,
on his way to taking the PGA Tournament Series money title. An
assistant pro at Glen Arbor Golf Club in Bedford Hills, N.Y.,
Labritz had a 71.04 scoring average. He also qualified for his
first tour event, the Honda Classic, but missed the two-under
cut by a stroke.
Michael Letzig, Richmond, Mo.
Letzig, a sophomore at New Mexico, shot a 17-under 199 at
Honolulu's Leilehua Golf Course to win the John Burns
Intercollegiate. Thanks to a 64 in the second round, Letzig
broke his school's 54-hole record of 201 set by Tim Herron in
1992. Letzig has finished in the top 10 three times in his last
seven collegiate starts.
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