Golf Buzz

December 17, 2013 - 1:34pm
Posted by:
John Kim
john.kim's picture
Jason Dufner Dufnering
Photo: Courtesy Twitter account of David Watkins
Jason Dufner momentarily "checks out" - but a moment was all that was needed.

It started innocently enough: A Tour pro, a classroom full of kids and a stiff back from sitting on the floor for an extended time. What happened next led to a yearlong social phenomenon and series of gags that helped "Dufnering" remain a trending topic.

Even without that fateful March day, Jason Dufner's star was on the rise. Having worked his way up through the mini-tours, Dufner - who was once most most notable for losing a four-shot lead with three holes to go at the 2011 PGA Championship - had rebounded in spectacular fashion in 2012 including wins at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans and the HP Byron Nelson Championship.  

His play even earned him a spot on the 2012 U.S. Ryder Cup team where he was lauded for being a great teammate and a clutch performer.

But it was a promotional appearance he made as defending champion of the HP Byron Nelson that made him a household name in the most viral way possible.
 

 

 

"I just kind of checked out," Dufner said about the infamous photo. "My back was hurting. They had us sitting cross-legged. My hips were killing me. I was like, this wall is going to be a good place to lean. I just did what was natural. I was there for an hour, and that was the only picture that surfaced."

But that picture, taken by a local news reporter and uploaded to Twitter, became an instant sensation.
 

 

Dufner's good friend Keegan Bradley (who incidentally, was the one who defeated Dufner in the 2011 PGA Championship playoff) posted it to his Twitter account. When Rory McIlroy saw it, he not only laughed, he mimicked the pose with a copycat pose of his own.
 

That started the trend of "Dufnering". To paraphrase an old Seinfeld line: The trend was real ...and it was spectacular.

Everybody in golf, in sports, in the world (animals too!) joined in on the trend: Gallery of Dufnering stars

Tumblr joined in on the fun at "Duff Don't Care".

Jason Dufner's star was on the rise and it had nothing to do with his game. He was now an Internet sensation, a viral star, a walking meme if you will.

Then August came around. The PGA of America wasn't going to let the rest of the golf world have all the fun - as even the PGA Officers got in on the act.

 

 

As if it were fated by the golf gods, the year of Dufnering was capped off by the ultimate Dufner moment - winning the PGA Championship.

 

 

I was fortunate enough to have a chance to accompany Jason Dufner and his wife Amanda on a tour of New York City during a media blitz after his win. Of course, one of the main topics of discussion - Dufnering.

 


See photo gallery of Dufner takes New York

Since then, Dufner has continued to take the world by storm. He has remained an active and passionate supporter of his beloved Auburn Tigers. An early season pep-talk to the football team helped propel them into a fantasy season like no other.  He even addressed the team and fired them up for a win over Texas A&M.  

Watch: Jason Dufner talks to the Auburn football team

The school returned the favor by naming a local street after him.

Is there no end to the Dufner magic? At the Tour Championship, Keegan Bradley celebrated an eagle from the fairway by - what else - Dufnering.

I mean, here we are in December and the trend is still going strong - even in the NFL.

 

 

So what will 2014 hold for the world of golf? Could it possibly top the "Dufnering" trend of 2013? I'm not sure. I think I'll have to think about it for awhile. Just relax and let my mind wander. Maybe sit down against this wall right here.....

You can follow John Kim on Twitter at @johnkim.  You can follow Jason Dufner on Twitter at @JasonDufner (though you probably already do).
 

December 17, 2013 - 9:34am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Rob Labritz
PGA of America
Rob Labritz punched a ticket to the 2013 PGA Championship in stunning fashion.

For my money, the PGA Professional National Championship -- year in and year out -- is one of the best tournaments in professional golf.

Why? Because, among other things, you get a deep appreciation for just how good and how talented the PGA Professionals who help to improve our game are with their own respective game.

BEST SHOTS OF 2013: No. 5 -- Kenny Perry's eagle chip at the Senior PGA Championship

Oh yeah -- there's also always a lot of dramatic moments when it comes to the ultimate goal for all 312 of the PNC competitors: finishing in the top 20 to earn a spot in the PGA Championship.

Case in point: Rob Labritz, PGA Director of Golf at Glen Arbor Golf Club in Bedford Hills, N.Y.

In the 2013 PNC -- played at the Sunriver Resort in Oregon -- Labritz found himself among a six-man playoff for the final three PGA Championship spots available after 72 holes. On the first hole of the playoff, two players advanced.

That left Labritz vying for the final spot with three others.

Labritz looked to be out of the mix after drawing an awful lie with his tee shot in a fairway bunker on the 457-yard, par-4 11th hole. Forced to punch out while the others played onto the green, Labritz proceeded to miraculously hole out for birdie from 95 yards with a 53-degree gap wedge. After none of the others matched the birdie, the 42-year-old Labritz was in his fourth PGA Championship.

"I don't have many words," Labritz said. "It's been an emotional week, but a great ending to it. What a way to go back to the PGA at Oak Hill."

Here's video of the shot, which also received top honors on ESPN's SportsCenter top-10 plays:

 

 

Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tjauclair.

 

 

December 16, 2013 - 11:57pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
john.holmes's picture
Luke Donald at Chicago Blackhawks game
Luke Donald via Twitter
Luke Donald studied the ice at the Chicago Blackhawks-Los Angeles Kings game before attempting to hit pucks through a cutout placed in the goal.
Well, while I was all excited about Jim Furyk 'dufnering' at the Jacksonville Jaguars game Sunday afternoon, I totally missed Luke Donald's appearance at the Chicago Blackhawks game Sunday night.
 
Donald – who went to Northwestern and still spends a lot of time in Chicago – went on the ice between periods of the Blackhawks' 3-1 win over the Los Angeles Kings. He tried his luck shooting from center ice toward a cutout in the goal that contained three small slits along the ice.
 
Ironically, Donald, who is one of the best putters on the PGA Tour, couldn't get any of his 100-footers to go in. In his defense, he said he had never even shot a puck until Saturday, when he tried it a few times on a friend's ice rink.
 
''It's a shame I didn't make one, but I got a nice welcome from the crowd and it was fun,'' Donald said afterward. ''At least I hit the board [in the net] a couple times.''
 
Donald said he was a big Hawks fan, and attended several playoff games during their Stanley Cup-winning run last spring. 
 
''I really enjoy it. I think it's a great sport to come watch live,'' he said of hockey. ''I just enjoy the atmosphere. I think it's one of the best sports to watch live.''
 
Here's Donald's tweet about his frozen foray:
 
 
Here's a recap video from the Blackhawks. There's no way to embed it, but you can see it on the Hawks' official site by clicking here.
 
 
 
 
December 16, 2013 - 11:18am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Kenny Perry
PGA.com
At the 2013 Senior PGA Championship presented by KitchenAid, Kenny Perry turned what could have easily been a bogey or more into an incredible eagle.

Over the course of the next five days, PGA.com will take a look at five of the best golf shots hit in the professional ranks over the course of the 2013 calendar year.

Coming in at No. 5, is Kenny Perry's improbable eagle on the par-5 fourth hole from a terrible lie in the third round of the 74th Senior PGA Champioship presented by KitchenAid at Bellerive.

Perry, who would eventually finish second in the tournament, left his second shot into the par 5 just short of the green and was incredibly unlucky to discover that his ball -- rather than slipping into the greenside bunker -- hung up in the rough just outside the bunker.

For his third shot, Perry was forced to stand in the bunker with the golf ball sitting nearly waist high. Contact was an issue -- let alone the thought of getting it on the green.

With some golf magic, Perry not only escaped this gnarly lie, but also hit one of the most amazing shots you'll ever see, holing it for an eagle.

Click here to see the shot.

Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tjauclair.

 

December 15, 2013 - 4:02pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
john.holmes's picture
Jim Furyk at Jacksonville Jaguars game
via Players Championship Twitter feed
Jim Furyk and Jaxson de Ville 'dufnered' high above the Bills-Jaguars game.
A couple weeks ago, we saw Fred Couples raise the 12th Man flag at a Seattle Seahawks football game.
 
This afternoon, we saw Jim Furyk do a little 'dufnering' at the Jacksonville Jaguars game.
 
Furyk and Jaguars mascot Jaxson de Ville struck the pose up on the Sky Patio as the Jags battled the Buffalo Bills. At halftime, Furyk and Jaxson squared off in a closest-to-the-pin contest in which both hit shots from the Sky Patio above the south end zone down to a green on the 50 yard line at Everbank Field.
 
Furyk, who shot a 59 earlier this year, is the latest in a string of PGA Tour players to challenge Jaxson at a Jags home game. In a seasonlong promotion, Billy Horschel, David Lingmerth, Matt Kuchar and Bud Cauley among others are taking on the mascot in that closest-to-the-pin contest with the Jaguars making a donation to the players' favorite charities for participating.
 
 
December 14, 2013 - 12:41pm
Posted by:
John Kim
john.kim's picture
Shaquille O'Neal, Bubba Watson
Photo: Courtesy "Shaq Got Next"
It wasn't traditional golf but it sure was fun when Shaq and Bubba squared off.

Shaquille O'Neal - better known simply as "Shaq" - has proven himself as large a tv personality as he was a presence in the paint during his superstar NBA career.

Shaq's television duties include the NBA on TNT and "Hall of Game" on Cartoon Network (full disclosure, both are a part of Turner Broadcasting - as is PGA.com) and is the subject of a popular segment called "Shaq's Got Next." As part of the series, Shaq spent some time with 2012 Masters champion Bubba Watson.

What happens when you combine golf with two of sports' most entertaining and colorful personalities? Well, see for yourself.