For the past few months, Aaron Baddeley has been unwittingly sabotaging himself on the golf course.
But after a breakthrough powwow with his team, the Victorian is back on track and ready to surprise at the PGA Championship.
Hitting his straps often in practice sessions with coach Dale Lynch, Baddeley was getting a little frustrated when results on course weren’t mirroring his practice.
From March this year, Baddeley, Lynch and caddie Anthony Knight would routinely come away from practice thinking they’d found the key, only to wind up back to the drawing board a few weeks later.
It wasn’t until the British Open, almost four months from when they had put the game on the range to its rightful place, that they realised they weren’t all on the same page after all.
It turns out Baddeley wasn’t exactly mirroring his practice but, instead, was perfecting the faults mid-round, believing the opposite.
“He was basically sabotaging himself because he was trying to make a fix in the complete wrong way when I left him on his own,” Lynch said.
“It was a perception thing. He thought he was doing what we talked about but he was actually feeling the wrong things.
“Essentially, he was trying to manipulate his arms on the downswing instead of just letting them go and it was causing him problems.”
With the issue sorted, Baddeley was able to put together a late flourish in the World Golf Championships Bridgestone Invitational, moving into a top-10 finish.
Had he not made a slow start after being delayed getting to the event due to family illness, he may well have contended for the win, something the 31-year-old is hoping he can do this week at the Ocean Course on Kiawah Island.
“I’m very confident I am on top of the concept issue we had and am building to something good,” Baddeley said.
“The results in majors haven’t been exactly what I’ve wanted but there have been some good signs recently and I’m looking forward to this week.”
Despite winning three times on the US Tour, Baddeley’s best finish in a major remains his T13 finishes in the 2007 US Open and 2008 PGA Championship.
He has missed 17 cuts in 27 starts in the big ones, including six of his past nine, but is ready to buck the trends.
“I’m starting to drive it nice and long and I’m feeling really great after a strong finish last week,” he said.
“I’m hoping for a bit of wind because, if the wind blows, I’m thinking even par could be a chance to win the golf tournament and I like that idea.
“I like when the wind comes because I feel confident in hitting different shots and shapes where some guys might not.
“Growing up in Australia is a huge advantage on days like that because it’s normal to have to deal with wind and be imaginative.”