This is the third post about Christian golfers playing in this week’s Master’s Tournament in Augusta, Georgia. Today, we will look at the story of Aaron Baddeley. Born in Lebanon, New Hampshire,(his dad worked in Indy cars with Mario Andretti) then moving to Australia at the age of 2. Baddeley made a name for himself as an 18 year-old amateur when he won the Australian Open tournament in 1999 and earned a special invitation to participate in the 2000 Master’s where he missed the cut by 1 stroke. He would defend his Australian Open title a year later, but between those victories, he came close to giving up the game altogether.
He began playing golf at age 8 and took it seriously, setting goals of playing PGA tour golf by the age of 21. But he also had a knowledge and understanding of who God was, and enjoyed sharing about his relationship with Jesus. In fact, as you can read in this article from Augusta.com, he even tossed around the idea of being a preacher, and still jumps at the chance to tell whoever will listen, about Jesus.
He knew that God needed to be important in his life, but he found himself spending less and less time in church and with God, and more time on the Golf course. As you can hear in this story on Baddeley by CBN, he knew that he was heading the wrong direction, focusing more on golf and improving his game then he was working on his relationship with God. And his game was suffering. He was missing cuts, playing poorly, and less than a year after winning the Australian Open as an amateur, he was ready to give up the game for good.
Instead, he turned his focus back to God, and reset his priorities to let God again be number 1. He devoted more time to studying God’s word, and his game rebounded. He went on to defend his title at the 2000 Australian Open and has since become a top 20 golfer in the world.
Here is a feature that CBN did on Baddeley:
Hear Baddeley, Tom Lehman and Bubba Watson share their stories at Highland Church in Scottsdale, Arizona by clicking on this link.
Here are a couple of things that I thought were great points that he made in the articles and videos that I used for this post.
He talked about how he thought maybe he would be a preacher, but God called him to golf. And by pursuing golf and intentionally seeking to honor God with his life, he is getting opportunities to share what God is doing in his life, and challenge others to keep God as a priority. Isn’t it cool how God works. He gets to do both!
I also completely get what he is talking about when he says that he has learned a lot about God’s unconditional love through his marriage to Richelle. Marriage is a great way to get to know God’s character. When you are dating someone, there are still places to hide the parts of yourself that you are not proud about. You can still put your best out for your significant other to see. But when you are married, those places to hide start to disappear. The “you” that you try to hide from everyone else gets more and more visible and there is nowhere else left to hide. My wife sees me at my worse and chooses to love me anyway. She is loving, forgiving and patient with me. I am learning more and more about these same things from God when I see God working in her to show me these things through her.
The Saturday Rounds have begun. At the end of Friday, here are the results of the 3 players that I have blogged about:
Fred Couples and Jason Dufner lead the way, Bubba Watson is tied for 3rd, 1 shot back. Baddeley and Ben Crane are tied for 11th, 3 strokes off the lead. It is very close right now – it is promising to be a great weekend in Augusta!