What I'll Remember About 2013: Dufner wins the PGANovember 24, 2013
By Chris Dunham, PGATOUR.COM
PGATOUR.COM asked its staffers and writers what they will remember about the 2013 season. For the archived list of essays and a complete review of the season, click here.
It’s not often in this profession that we’re able to be fans, but one such opportunity presented itself at the 2013 PGA Championship.
In the last two years, I’d put a lot of stock into Jason Dufner via various prediction spots on PGATOUR.COM. In 2012, I’d selected him to finish inside the FedExCup top 5 and he made a great run with his first two titles. Then in 2013, Dufner was my preseason pick to win the FedExCup -- and my Expert Pick the week of the PGA.
I’d penciled in picks to a number of events before the 2013 season got under way, hitting with Adam Scott at the Masters and making a good run with Miguel Angel Jimenez at the Open Championship before August rolled around. But Dufner, who had squandered his best chance at a major at the 2011 PGA was the pick I wanted to hit most because of my FedExCup prediction and the fact that I was the only expert to even have him on his fantasy lineup that week.
Despite Dufner’s major championship record-tying 63 in Round 2 at Oak Hill, the first three rounds are kind of a blur to me because that Sunday was so special. Never in my years of watching golf (which I will grant you, don’t stretch back as far as most readers’ golf-watching experience) have I seen someone as dialed in as Dufner on that Sunday at the PGA.
The Duf started the round a shot behind Jim Furyk and after making tap-in birdies on Nos. 5 and 8, he'd moved ahead for good.
He didn't step on the gas on the back nine but he did step on the hopes of anyone trying to track him down as he attacked pin after pin on the back nine at Oak Hill. Dufner hit six fairways and six greens on the back nine leaving himself birdie putts inside 15 feet on four of seven holes, including yet another tap-in birdie on No. 16, as he put things away.
By the time he bogeyed the last two holes, Dufner was simply matching his playing partner, who also bogeyed the last two holes.
By the time he added up the numbers, Dufner was signing for a final-round 68 and preparing to hoist the Wanamaker Trophy -- the same prize that had just eluded him in 2011.
How impressive was his final round? In addition to overcoming the demons that may have existed following the 2011 collapse at Atlanta Athletic Club, Dufner's 68 was one of two sub-70 rounds fired in the day's last six groups and the only one in the last four.
That title changed Dufner's 2013 season from forgettable to career-changing. In addition to winning his first major, he put himself right back into the FedExCup mix.
The facts that he's a great player who's easy to root for and fun to follow on Twitter, (and was my pick to claim that event), didn't hurt.