By Mike McAllister, PGATOUR.COM
IRVING, Texas -- Jason Dufner was hoping a return to the TPC Four Seasons Resort, where he won the HP Byron Nelson Championship a year ago, would jump-start his season.
It didn't happen.
Dufner finished a frustrating four days at 1 under and will leave Las Colinas still seeking his first top-10 of the season. Dufner's best finish this year in 12 starts is a tie for 12th at the World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship.
"It's just not much fun playing golf right now the way I'm playing," said Dufner, who is scheduled to play in next week's Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial, where he finished second last year to Zach Johnson.
Dufner hit just 46.4 percent of his fairways this week, includng five of 14 on Sunday. He also struggled with his putting, needing 123 putts over the four rounds.
Asked what his main issues are, Dufner replied, "Pretty much everything.
"Can't score, so that's the name of the game out here. You got to make birdies and save pars when you can, and I can't do it, so very frustrating time for me right now, golf-wise."
IRVING, Texas -- In Thursday's opening round of the 2013 HP Byron Nelson Championship, defending champion Jason Dufner holed a 129-yard eagle approach shot on the par-4 first hole. Dufner eventually finished at even-par 70.
By Mike McAllister, PGATOUR.COM
IRVING, Texas -- Seven weeks ago, the Dufnering craze first took root in a Dallas-area classroom. Jason Dufner, back in the area this week for the HP Byron Nelson Championship, has seen most of the photos poking good-natured fun at his slumped pose during a charity event.
The ones that impressed him the most?
"One guy did it up in, I think, it was a C-130 where they transport tanks for the military," Dufner said Wednesday. "They had the back hatch down and he was sitting on the edge and they were up, 20-, 30,000 feet in the air. That was a unique spot to do it. (see photo below)
"There have been all kinds of people that have mimicked it and tried to replicate it and people having their dogs and cats do it, which is extremely weird to me."
The original photo of Dufner went viral, spreading across the Twitter universe and spawning the "Dufnering" term. Instead of being upset with the attention, he embraced it.
"I didn't have to do much," he said. "I was just sitting and somebody decided to take a picture and put it on the Internet, which is always exciting with regard to being in the public spotlight.
"The guys on TOUR had a go at it with me and then it went viral through Twitter and social media and web sites, so it's been good exposure for me. I didn't take it too seriously -- like most things in my life I don't take things too seriously. But it's been a good response and I think people have had a kick out of it."
Here's a look at one of the Dufnering photos that caught Jason Dufner's attention (@D1Cunner0610)
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
Rickie Fowler, Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter, Jason Dufner, Freddie Jacobson and Padraig Harrington have all committed to the Travelers Championship, the tournament announced on Tuesday.
"Along with being great golfers, these six individuals are all well known and our fans will be thrilled to see them compete in person," tournament director Nathan Grube said. "Our competitive field just got a lot stronger with these additions."
All six have played in the event before, which will take place at TPC River Highlands June 20-23, the week after the U.S. Open at nearby Merion Golf Club in suburban Philadelphia.
Jacobson won the Travelers in 2011, while Harrington tied for fifth in 2011 and was 11th last year.
Others already committed include Bubba Watson, Hunter Mahan, Keegan Bradley, Justin Rose, Zach Johnson, and defending champion Marc Leishman.
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- The final pairing of Tiger Woods and Sergio Garcia tees off at 2:40 p.m. on Saturday. Here's a closer look at each of them, plus who and what else to watch for this afternoon at TPC Sawgrass.
Webb Simpson (1:30 p.m. ET): The reigning U.S. Open champion seemed to turn the corner at Hilton Head, where he finished second after losing in a playoff. This week, he's third in fairways hit and enters Saturday five back.
Jason Dufner (1:30 p..m ET): He had six birdies and just one bogey in the second round and is one of the best ball-strikers in the game. He also finished sixth here two years ago.
Zach Johnson (1:50 p.m. ET): The last four finishes for Johnson here: T32, T22, T12, T2. See the trend? A couple late bogeys on Friday hurt, but Johnson is still in the mix four back.
Adam Scott (1:50 p.m. ET): Playing for the first time since his Masters victory, Scott is in position to go after his second PLAYERS title (he won here in 2004). He's just four shots back.
Hunter Mahan (2 p.m. ET): After struggling in his last few starts, Mahan has turned it around here, hitting 75 percent of his greens in regulation.
Matt Kuchar (2 p.m. ET): No player has ever won this tournament two years in a row. After a 66 Friday, Kuchar has a chance and enters the third round just four shots back.
Ryan Palmer (2:20 p.m. ET): The Texan is playing with a heavy heart after a longtime friend was killed in a car accident Thursday night. He's wearing the initials "CA" on his hat in honor of him.
Henrik Stenson (2:20 p.m. ET): The 2009 champion is in contention again after making two eagles in the second round (on the par-5 second and ninth holes). When he won here four years ago, he shot a final-round 66.
Lee Westwood (2:30 p.m. ET): The Englishman has finished fourth, fifth and sixth here. All that's missing is a win. He's the only player without a bogey through the first two rounds.
Tiger Woods (2:40 p.m. ET): It's been a dozen years since Woods has won here, but he said all facets of his game are clicking right now and it's showed so far with his best 36-hole start in his history here.
Sergio Garcia (2:40 p.m. ET): Like Woods, Garcia has won here before (in 2008), but he's struggled at times playing alongside the world No. 1 with five his last six rounds in the 70s when the two have been paired.
By Brian Allee-Walsh, Special to PGATOUR.COM
AVONDALE, La. -- One of the featured groups failed to take advantage of a vulnerable golf course Thursday morning in the opening round of the Zurich Classic of New Orleans.
Greeted by soft greens and a slight north wind, the golf gods seemed to be smiling down on two past champions - Bubba Watson (2011) and Nick Watney (2007) -- and defending champion Jason Dufner. But none came close to matching Ricky Barnes' course-record tying 8-under 64 at rain-soaked TPC Louisiana.
Watney led the threesome with a 3-under 69, one better than Dufner (70) and four better than Watson (73).
Watney got an early start to his 32nd birthday, waking up to darkness to work out the kinks before teeing off No. 10 at 8:30 a.m. ET.
"Waking up at 5 in the morning, I'll probably be pretty tame tonight," Watney told reporters after his round. "But yeah, it's always good to celebrate a birthday, and to shoot a decent round makes it even better.
"I'm happy with my round, so I'll go home and watch the boys have at it this afternoon."
Watney also planned to watch the first-round of the NFL Draft where his beloved San Francisco 49ers are slated to pick 31st as the runner-up to the Super Bowl XLVII champion Baltimore Ravens.
With 13 overall picks in hand, Watney suggested the 49ers might be ripe to maneuver up in the first round.
"The 49ers are really good," Watney said. "I don't think they have any major holes. But maybe a safety because we lost Dashon Goldston (to Tampa Bay in free agency). So that might be our weak spot."
Dufner fell short of his expectations Thursday but certainly didn't shoot himself out of the tournament, posting birdies on both par 5s on the front nine and a birdie on No. 16, a short 344-yard par 4. His lone bogey came on the par-3 fourth hole.
"We had a north wind today, which I think I've only played once before in my years here," Dufner said. "It was pretty score-able. But some holes we're used to playing downwind were into the wind today. So the course played longer and played really different than what I'm accustomed to here in New Orleans."
Watson slipped past reporters, signed autographs and posed for pictures with fans, then headed into the clubhouse to ponder his round and how to play himself into contention on Friday. He missed the cut last year in defense of his title.
"Eight under is some good golf," Watney said of Barnes' round. "I would take that any day."
SUNDAY: Stay tuned for Billy Horschel's winner's press conference.
All interviews will be streamed on PGATOUR.COM.
Tuesday, April 23
Guan Tianlang, 3 p.m. ET
Wednesday, April 24
Jason Dufner, 10 a.m. ET
Justin Rose, 3:30 p.m. ET
Bubba Watson, after pro-am
Jason Dufner and Ernie Els squared off in a playoff last year at TPC Louisiana.
By Jeff Shain, PGATOUR.COM contributor
• COURSE: TPC Louisiana, 7,425 yards, par 72. Located in the suburbs just west of New Orleans, the 2004 Pete Dye design winds through some 250 acres of Louisiana wetlands along the Mississippi River delta. The course features more than 100 bunkers, plus several large waste bunkers along the first six holes of the back nine. The Zurich Classic relocated there in 2005, though flooding a year later forced a one-time return to English Turn G&CC. Last year, TPC Louisiana ranked as the 10th easiest layout on the PGA TOUR schedule.
• FEDEXCUP: Winner receives 500 points.
• CHARITY: The Fore!Kids Foundation, which has given more than $23 million to Louisiana children’s service organizations since its founding 55 years ago. Donations focus on health-care and education projects.
• FIELD WATCH: World No. 4 Justin Rose and defending champion Jason Dufner are among just six to sign up from among the top 25 in this week’s world rankings. ... Guan Tianlang, the 14-year-old Chinese whiz who made the Masters cut two weeks ago, is in on a sponsor exemption. It’ll be relatively familiar territory – he spent a month with a family friend last year while preparing for U.S. Open qualifying.
• 72-HOLE RECORD: 262, Chip Beck (1988 at Lakewood CC). TPC Louisiana record: 269, Jason Dufner and Ernie Els (2012).
• 18-HOLE RECORD: 61, Paul Stankowski (1st round, 2001 at English Turn G&CC). TPC Louisiana record: 64, Kyle Reifers (1st round, 2007), Troy Matteson (2nd round, 2009), Dean Wilson (2nd round, 2011), Greg Chalmers (2nd round, 2012), Russell Knox (2nd round, 2012), Ryan Palmer (3rd round, 2012).
• LAST YEAR: Dufner finally ended his long wait for a PGA TOUR victory, going two extra holes before a birdie that finally pushed him clear of a hard-charging Ernie Els. The World Golf Hall of Famer made up a three-shot deficit with a closing 67, but missed a 16-foot try at birdie on the final hole of regulation. Els then missed a 5-foot birdie attempt when they replayed No. 18 to start the playoff. Dufner put an end to it on the third pass, reaching the green in two and lagging up to a tap-in birdie. Els found a fairway bunker on the second replay, missing a long birdie from the fringe. Dufner’s first victory came after eight years and 164 PGA TOUR starts.
• STORYLINES: Dufner, seeking to become the fifth man to win back-to-back in New Orleans, hasn’t finished outside the top 10 in his past four visits. He tied for third in 2011, seventh a year earlier and ninth in 2009. … Els has three top-3 finishes in six starts in New Orleans, though last year was the first time he had played TPC Louisiana. … Five of the past eight champions made New Orleans their first PGA TOUR win, a trend that seems strong again with so few highly ranked participants. … Former champ David Toms, whose 2001 win preceded a PGA Championship title, will play his home-state event for the 20th time.
• SHORT CHIPS: The Zurich Classic has been decided by either one stroke or in a playoff eight times in the past 10 editions. The lone exceptions were won by Nick Watney (2007) and Jason Bohn (2010). … Champions Tour pro Neal Lancaster makes his fourth PGA TOUR start of 2013, given a sponsor exemption.
• TELEVISION: Thursday-Friday, 3-6 p.m. EDT (Golf Channel). Saturday-Sunday, 1-2:30 p.m. (GC), 3-6 p.m. (CBS).
• RADIO: Thursday- Sunday, noon-6 p.m. EDT (SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio).
By PGA TOUR staff
The new term was coined after a photo of Dufner began circulating online (above) of him visiting the Salesmanship Youth and Family Centers as the defending champion of the HP Byron Nelson Championship. Shortly after Dufner’s peers came off the golf course at the Shell Houston Open on Thursday, the photo quickly spread across Twitter.
This post from Keegan Bradley had over 1,500 retweets.
If imitation is flattery, Dufner should be feeling quite good about himself. Rory McIlroy was the first to share his imitation, which he termed #Dufnering in a Twitter hashtag. twitter.com/McIlroyRory/st…
— Rory Mcilroy (@McIlroyRory) March 29, 2013
This was quickly followed by more #Dufnering tweets from players and fans alike, with nearly 5,000 mentions on Twitter through 9:30 a.m. ET Friday morning and a place on the USA Trending Topics list.
For his part, Dufner has taken the whole thing in stride, retweeting several #Dufnering tweets from fans last night, and giving his explanation earlier today.
What can I say, I was tired, my back hurt from sitting on the floor, and we were talking about relaxation and focusing. #dufnering— Jason Dufner (@JasonDufner) March 29, 2013
Submit your own to #Dufnering photo to the PGA TOUR’s Twitter photoboard through the weekend, or see the collection at twt.pl/1zj