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Newz Forum: GOLF: Baker-Finch could make a dramatic return

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posted on Jan, 7 2005 @ 01:13 PM
Former Open champion Ian Baker-Finch is mulling over a return to competitive golf after eight years away from the game.

The Australian has been working as a commentator on US television but is contemplating playing in some tournaments in Australasia this year.

"I just want to see where I am," he said in an interview with Golf Digest magazine. "It's better to do that now than to delude myself for six years before I'm eligible for the Champions Tour.

"I'd like to play some events on tour, the smaller events, or maybe the Colonial or a Nationwide Tour event or a couple back in Australia. When I get to 50, I'd like to really try to compete on the Champions Tour."

Now 44, Baker-Finch's game went downhill after his sole major win at Birkdale in 1991. He missed 32 cuts in a row on the US PGA Tour from 1994-97 and hit rock bottom at Troon in 1997 when he shot a 92. He has tried to analyse where it all went wrong but he believes that changes to his game were only implemented with the goal of improving his chances of success.

"Some people have said: 'His desire to hit the ball farther caused him to tinker with his swing'.

"Everyone's always trying to improve because if you're not trying to improve, you're going backward.

"I never really liked the look of my swing, which is strange, because when I look at it now it was actually pretty good.

"The thing is, you've got to believe in yourself. When you lose that trust and you lose that belief...

"The frightening thing was, there were days when I could play really well, then the next day I'd hit three drives out-of-bounds and two in the water.

"It became a mental issue, obviously. My 68 on Wednesday became 76 on Thursday and 86 in a major. It was like the bigger the event, the more pressure, the more tension, the higher the score."

The Australian is realistic enough to accept that he will not hit the heights of Royal Birkdale again but believes that his game is solid enough to make a return an enjoyable experience.

He said: "It's been over a decade. I won one major - I was an okay player for 10 years. As I get later on into my 40s, I'll play more and more.

"I don't have any bad feelings at all about the golf gods or feel like I've been dealt a bad hand. I try to play every day.

"To this day, I would love to be able to go out and play in a tournament and perform well, just to show the people, even one time, that I can still play and that I'm not a 90s-shooter.

"I would love that opportunity. But I had a time when I played well. I'm a has-been, but I'm not a never-was. At least I had my moment in the sun."



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