With another season on the horizon for Jason Dufner, chances are you'll notice the No. 43 patch on his golf bag. It's not there because of any superstition -- it's there as a tribute to a lost friend.
Philip Lutzenkirchen was a tight end for the 2010 Auburn football team that won the BCS title. With Dufner being a big Auburn supporter, the two became friends, especially after an injury to Lutzenkirchen's hip caused him to miss time on the gridiron.
On June 29 of last year, Lutzenkirchen died in a car crash outside of La Grange, Ga.
Shortly thereafter, Dufner debuted the patch on his golf bag.
"I wanted to let (Lutzenkirchen's) real-close friends and family members know that people in the Auburn family were thinking about him, and that we weren't going to forget him," Dufner said in a recent interview with the Golf Channel.
Take a look at the full video from the Golf Channel:
Starting my year off at Phoenix & Torrey back-to-back weeks. I’m ready to go. Should be a lot of fun. http://t.co/sRnFLf6NvM
— Tiger Woods (@TigerWoods) January 9, 2015
It will be Tiger's first start in the tournament since a tie for fifth there in 2001.
"It will be great to return to Phoenix," Woods said on his website. "The crowds are amazing and always enthusiastic, and the 16th hole is pretty unique in golf."
Woods also revealed that he will be playing the following week as well in the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines (Feb. 5-8) -- a venue where he has won an astounding eight times, including the 2008 U.S. Open.
"Torrey is a very important place to me," said Woods, who won the Farmers Insurance Open for a seventh time in 2013. 'My pop took me there when I was younger, and I have a lot of special memories of watching the Tour play there when I was growing up."
In case you missed it, Golf.com is reporting that Tiger Woods will likely make his 2014-15 PGA Tour season debut at in the Waste Management Phoenix Open at TPC Scottsdale, Jan. 29-Feb. 1.
Golf.com reported that one source close to WMPO organizers said Woods has reserved his courtesy car for the event, "which has officials cautiously optimistic that he intends to play."
Rob Myers, a spokesman for the Thunderbirds organization that hosts the WMPO, wouldn't confirm if Woods would in fact be in the field.
"We have heard the rumors, but as of yesterday he is not on the confirmation list," Myers told Golf.com on Wednesday.
After this week, there are only two events on the Tour's schedule before the WMPO -- the Sony Open in Hawaii and the Humana Challenge. Woods would have to commit to the Sony Open by late Friday afternoon (a tournament he has never played in). Woods has until late next Friday afternoon, Jan. 16, to commit to the Humana Challenge (another event in which he has never played).
Another source told Golf.com that Woods has reserved rooms at Scottsdale's Four Seasons Resort, but a spokesperson for the resort declined comment to confirm whether Woods had a reservation or not.
Woods has not played in the WMPO since 2001 when he tied for fifth.
In 1997 -- his rookie season on the PGA Tour -- Woods famously made a hole-in-one on TPC Scottsdale's raucous par-3, 16th hole, regarded as the biggest party on the PGA Tour:
If he does play at TPC Scottsdale, it would be the first PGA Tour start for Woods since his missed cut at the PGA Championship last August and decided to take the remainder of the season off to recover from a back injury that plagued him throughout 2014.
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