Golf has its drawbacks. It is possible, by too much of it, to destroy the mind. WALTER SIMPSON
Thanks to reader Charlie for nice retro link on PGA Champion Jason Dufner from Jim McCabe.
The story first appeared on Golfweek.com in April, 2012, and documents Dufner's rise from obscurity to burgeoning talent on the PGA Tour following his playoff loss at Atlanta Athletic Club.
How Dufner even got his foot into the PGA Tour door speaks volumes for the man’s commitment to his craft. No hand-outs, no slew of tournament exemptions, just an old-fashioned determination.
Having graduated in the spring of 2000, Dufner played the Golden Bear Tour that summer and fall and was going to do likewise in 2001 when he decided to do a Monday qualifier for a Nationwide Tournament in Hershey, Penn.
He finished T-12, which got him into the next week’s tournament in Wichita and when Dufner edged out David Gossett, Todd Rose, and Jeff Gove for that victory, he was at least in the PGA Tour family. For the rest of ‘01 and all of the next two years, Dufner toiled in the minors, then he had a forgettable 2004 season on the PGA Tour. Back on the Nationwide Tour for two seasons, Dufner continued to improve and when he finished eight on the money list in 2006, he earned a return to the PGA Tour.
He’s never looked back, but mostly because that’s his nature. He prefers to keep the focus on now and how that can take him forward.
Michael David Murphy pieces another super cut together, this time of Dufner's waggles. And while that may seem silly, it's fun to see how he varies them in his routine, each time only pulling the trigger until he's settled in as opposed to having a rigid pre-shot routine.
Doug Ferguson's game story on Jason Dufner's workmanlike 2013 PGA Championship win at Oak Hill.
Dufner can't think of any other athlete who plays with so little emotion.
"But those sports are a little more exciting - big plays in basketball, home runs in baseball, big plays in football. That will get you pumped up," he said. "For me, golf is a little bit more boring. I hit it in the fairway or I didn't. Usually I'm struggling with the putter, so there's not too much to get excited about with that."
His name on the Wanamaker Trophy?
That was worth a smile.
"Nobody can take that away from me," Dufner said after he closed with a 2-under 68 for a two-shot win over Furyk. "It's a great accomplishment for me, and I'm really excited about it."
Fun stuff from golf.com's Cameron Morfit on Dufner:
Among Dufner’s most prized possessions is a signed, framed photograph of Hogan that his wife gave him for a wedding present. Dufner has been fascinated by excellence ever since he was a teenager following Vijay Singh around the course as a standard-bearer at the Honda Classic. Who succeeds? Who doesn’t? And why? For Dufner, the difference has been not just working with instructor Chuck Cook but also using visualization techniques he found in a small book about Russian weightlifters.
This is pretty classy all the way around.
From David Dusek's Golfweek.com wrap on the win that's also accompanied by a swell Getty Image:
He and his wife, Amanda, recently purchased 50 acres of land and are in the process of building a home. They were given an oak tree sapling by the general manager of Oak Hill Country Club and plan to plant it, along with several acorns they’ve collected this week, on their property.
“It will be a neat experience, the first major championship at Oak Hill and hopefully having some of their oak trees out there on the property,” Dufner said.
If Dufner saw the ghosts of 2011, you'd never know it. He'd be great at impersonating someone in a coma. Only twice Sunday -- when he left a birdie putt short on the par-5 13th, and when he had to do one more photo op -- did you know he even had a pulse.
But the memory of that blown lead in Atlanta served its purpose. According to Amanda, who held a tin of dip for her husband as he finished up his postround winner duties, the 2011 PGA loss "was really important. I think it helped make him the golfer he is today."
An unbylined AP story on Jeff Overton, first alternate in the PGA Championship, reveals the since-deleted Tweets railing against the PGA of America for exempting questionable invitations that went largely uncriticized.
Overton has a point since he plays the PGA Tour, is a former Ryder Cupper and lost out to some European (Challenge) Tour players and Ryo Ishikawa, who is behind Overton in the world rankings. I'm not sure about the money making part, but the overall point is a fair one.
One tweet mentioned the PGA Championship had two sponsor's invitations. "Who did you give your invites to? Not the guy that helped make you 50 million in Wales," he tweeted.
He followed that with two more shots at the PGA of America.
- "(at)PGAChampionship I'm just saying. Ill play ur political picks whenever for wherever."
- "So. In other words u help make a corporation 50 to 100 million dollars. 3 years later they put u on a chair n treat u like a piece of ..."
Overton eventually deleted the series of tweets.
Yes it's been five years and Steve DiMeglio shares some disconcerting numbers about Tiger's weekends in the majors, but I still think the overanalysis will be a tad excessive in the coming weeks. Most will disagree.
But for now, here's Tiger's assessment of his 2013 in majors. From DiMeglio's USA Today story:
"Is it concerning?" a dejected Woods said when asked about not winning a major in more than five years. "No. I've been there in half of them. So that's about right. If you are going to be in there three-quarters or half of them with a chance to win on the back nine, you have just got to get it done.
"I was right there and certainly had a chance to win the Masters and the British this year. The other two, I just didn't hit it good enough. Just the way it goes."
For the year, he broke 70 once in 16 rounds of majors and hasn't broken 70 in 16 consecutive weekend rounds in majors. Putting woes have been his major nemesis in the last two rounds of majors for some time. This week, however, he fought his swing, saying his takeaway was a fraction off.
The firm of Lerner, Chamblee, Nobilo and Montgomerie broke down Tiger's week on Live From.
One of the big takeaways from the 2013 PGA: what are we going to do about the yahoos who yell after a tee shot. I think the Rochester crowd--which was otherwise amazing in their passion, attendance and cordiality--took the post tee shot obnoxious scream to a new level.
Luke Kerr-Dineen reports and posts a GIF of Jim Furyk's reaction to one yell.
Since the start of the tournament fans have been yelling everything from the old standbys to" Chewbacca," "Baba booey" and "mashed potatoes."
Ian Poulter was one of the many who took issue with it on Twitter, writing: "This baba boo sh-- & mash potato crap shouting wouldn't happen at Augusta, The Open, nor would it happen at Wimbledon. Tazer the thrushes." Things even got so bad at that after Furyk hit his drive on 16, he turned around to the crowd, pointed, and looked to tell them something that didn't exactly appear to be a stamp of approval.
Poulter's epic Tweet, in case you missed it:
This baba boo shit & mash potato crap shouting wouldn't happen at Augusta, The Open, nor would it happen at Wimbledon. Tazer the thrushes.— Ian Poulter (@IanJamesPoulter) August 11, 2013
So what is golf to do? Ejections? Tazer the thrushes? What? Because this has to be dealt with as it's a turn-off to anyone with a pulse.
**I should have known that the "Baba Boey!" comes from a Howard Stern type, as Mike Walker explains.
The USGA appears to be working feverishly while quietly punching back throughout the weekend nights, trying to penetrate the (mostly) negative coverage of their despicable (but completely planned) decision on a new 12-year television contract in the middle of the PGA Championship.
Out of respect for the PGA of America, I'm not going to address some of the big picture issues related to the sport as revealed in this Ron Sirak story until tomorrow. But for giggle purposes, this corporatespeak from USGA flak Joe Goode is right out of the Bank of America playbook and should brighten your Monday.
(Before you read how the money people have kidnapped and tied up the golf people at Far Hills, I remind you that the USGA is a non-profit organization running a few golf tournaments...err...championships...shaping the rules of a game, and doing some nice turfgrass research when the Executive Committee isn't chopping away at that research budget.)
From Sirak's story:
"The timing of our announcement was consistent with good organizational practice, a commitment to transparency, and involved a national governance organization and several large media companies whose stocks are traded publicly and applicable to disclosure laws and requirements," USGA spokesman Joe Goode said in a statement.
"The USGA and FOX Sports Media Group promptly made public our agreement, just as we made other applicable news throughout the day public," Goode said. "It would not have been proper, nor realistic, to withhold this news from the public in these circumstances."
As we learned in Adam Schupak's story, the USGA structured the timing of their decision to coincide with the PGA, so right off the bat they were going to be un-gentlemanly unless the 15-person committee that voted decided to sit on the news.
So again, this means the USGA Executive Committee could not be trusted to keep a secret.
It's hard to evaluate a tournament when you are watching an online (picture) feed sent to Apple TV with audio from another online feed listened through a Jambox (thanks Time Warner and CBS!), but it's hard to imagine this one would have been any more scintillating on live television. Brilliant ballstriking will do that, and Jason Dufner thankfully won this event instead of someone losing it because of the complete overreliance on rough as a hazard.
I hope this one is remembered for Dufner's great play and the sheer dreariness of watching a course with more dense rough than short grass. We were reminded yet again that skill is muted way too often when there is that much tall stuff. And in the case of the 5th hole, where tight grass fronted a creek, the contrived nature of it all.
On another note, I felt there was a better effort made on Sunday by CBS to minimize ads and promos, though seeing the Arena Bowl and next week's PGA Tour event get plugs had to be a first in major championship telecast history!
Either way, congrats to Dufner and let the Dufnering begin, again.
Oak Hill's rough looks to have grown about 3 inches since Thursday and you know history tells us this improves the chances of the Golf Gods saying, "okay you want six inches on one side of a green and a shaved bank on the other, we're going to give you Jonas Blixt!"
Anyway, I'll be watching on various streams and other seemingly bootleg ways of watching the final major.
Furyk leads but a host of players are in this if he comes back. I like my Grey Goose 19th Hole winning score prediction of -8 based on some of the early coverage on TNT, but let's hope we see a repeat of Mickelson with a definitive closing round that gives us a super major winner.
TNT signs off at 2 pm ET and a special presentation of ads interspersed with golf shots starts immediately thereafter on CBS.
Longtime readers and I have bonded over the years documenting PGA Championship commercial breaks and relentless fall lineup previews, with occasional interruptions of golf scattered here and there.
Under strict doctor's orders I was not allowed to watch today's 2013 telecast from Oak Hill. I suffer from a rare disease known as How I Met Your Mother Syndrome, which involves getting a migraine if I hear more than one How I Met Your Mother in a weekend.
But the PGA Championship obviously remains hard to watch when Mr. Free Market, Mr. Capitalism and former Mr. NBC Jack Welch takes to Twitter to blast CBS and the PGA for the lack of golf shown.
TNT #PGA coverage all golf...CBS coverage all talk and ads...too bad they weren't on in reverse order— Jack Welch (@jack_welch) August 10, 2013
#PGA PLEASE DEMAND CBS show golf...Coverage is awful. Really awful— Jack Welch (@jack_welch) August 10, 2013
The 3rd round highlights, free of plugs and commercials:
A super leaderboard heads into a weekend forecast to be sunny and mostly clear.
TNT kicks off with 11 a.m. ET coverage, followed by CBS at 2 pm ET and all capped off by Golf Channel's Live From immediately following CBS's telecast.
Time Warner customer? Remember, you have options for the CBS portion of the proceedings.
The final pairing of Dufner and Scott go at 2:55 ET.
Lots of fun, frank stuff from PGA Championship second round leader Jason Dufner in his post round scrum posted by GolfChannel.com.
Great to hear him so appreciative of the honor of breaking Oak Hill's course record, previously held by Ben Hogan (Mr. Hogan) and Curtis Strange (Mr. Strange).
And there was this on the putt he left short for 62:
Matthew Rudy has more on Dufner's interest in Hogan and the historic round.