You can follow John Kim on Twitter at @johnkim
You can follow John Kim on Twitter at @johnkim
It's a pretty safe bet to say that Jason Dufner has had his photo taken more times in the last few days than at any other point in his life.
It's also safe to say that my favorite one is this one posted above. It was taken the morning after he won the PGA Championship by his now mega-famous wife Amanda. She posted it on her Instragram account with the caption, ''I've been replaced.''
Amanda, I don't think you've got anything to worry about. However, I do see that the Dufners have a brand-new family member – a pup named Prince Louie. Dare we ask if he has any connection to Jason's fellow major winner Louis ''King Louis'' Oosthuizen? Probably not.
The Dufners spent Tuesday making the media rounds in New York, and you can see our photo gallery of their whirlwind trip here.
Also, we have put together a comprehensive recap of Dufner's victory at the PGA Championship in our brand-new "Weekly Golf Buzz" video show. And, of course, you can relive our complete coverage of the PGA Championship on the official site.
One final note on Dufner's victory that is as cool as anything I heard all last week. Dufner apparently felt like he was going to have a good week at Oak Hill, so he and Amanda collected a few acorns to take back to the plot of land in Alabama where they're building a new house. They were going to plant them in hopes that some Oak Hill oak trees would take root.
After he won, though, Dufner arranged with Oak Hill to have a sapling from the club transported down to his property.
''So at least that one will take root,'' Dufner said. ''I will have some trees out there, and it will be a neat experience – first major championship at Oak Hill and hopefully, have some of their oak trees out there on the property.''
Needless to say, Jason Dufner's victory in the PGA Championship vaulted him way up the points list for the 2014 U.S. Ryder Cup squad. In fact, Jason has 'dufnered' all the way up to second place behind Phil Mickelson in the standings at this point.
The top nine right now are:
1. Phil Mickelson: 2,172.000
2. Jason Dufner: 1883.199
3. Jim Furyk: 921.040
4. Tiger Woods: 676.623
5. Brandt Snedeker: 551.697
6. Zach Johnson: 496.827
7. Hunter Mahan: 483.288
8. Matt Kuchar: 462.226
9. Steve Stricker: 432.712
The top nine points-scorers will earn guaranteed spots, and Captain Tom Watson will round out the team with three captain's picks.
The points to date have been determined by the players' finishes in the 2013 major championships, with one point awarded for every $1,000 earned. Every U.S. player making the cut in a major earned points.
Points will begin accumulating on a weekly basis in October, when the 2014 PGA Tour schedule kicks off at the Frys.com Open. The qualification period will end at the 2014 PGA Championship next August, and Watson will make his picks in September.
A total of 66 players have earned points so far, and you can see the complete list and read more about the qualification process by clicking here.
All the marketing in the world can't save a product if it's not very good. Conversely, sometimes a product proves itself so quickly and convincingly that all a company has to do is spread the word.
That's the happy situation Srixon finds itself in as it unveils its new generation of Z-STAR golf balls.
As you might be aware, two players have shot 59 on the Web.com Tour in the last month – Will Wilcox at the Utah Championship on July 14 and Russell Knox at the Albertsons Boise Open on July 26. You might not be aware, however, that both did so using a new Srixon ball. Wilcox used a Z-STAR XV Tour Yellow ball – making him the first player to card a 59 with a colored ball – while Knox used a Z-STAR Pure White model.
And presto – there's your marketing campaign!
OK, so maybe there's a bit more to marketing than that. And, in fact, the new balls already have amassed 40 tournament wins worldwide this year. In any case, Srixon is launching its new spheres on a nice wave of momentum.
These 2013 editions – the regular Z-STAR and a hotter Z-STAR XV – are, Srixon says, the most technically advanced tour-performance balls the company has ever produced. The new balls, the company adds, have been re-designed, re-calculated and re-formulated to produce the best balance of high-level performance across all clubs in the bag.
Both boast enhanced spin control and softness as well as improved flight characteristics. Their covers feature Srixon's new ''Spin Skin,'' a coating the company says is two times softer than any previous Srixon coating, which helps create a 20 percent increase in friction. That enables players to hit approach shots with plenty of backspin, while experiencing a softer feel as the clubface grips the ball.
The Z-STAR model is built around a new, large-diameter Energy Gradient Growth (EGG) core. Its characteristics help provide more contrast between inner softness and outer hardness, resulting in more lift, less spin and longer flight distances. By contrast, the Z-STAR XV features a two-layer Neo EGG core, which delivers more lift and less spin for a quicker launch and greater overall flight distances.
Both balls carry Srixon's new 344 Speed Dimple design, which helps reduce air resistance for a strong, long-carrying trajectory. The new design increases the ratio of dimples to surface area by more than 4 percent, which Srixon says makes it possible to play more aggressive golf under all conditions.
Both the Z-STAR and the Z-STAR XV carry a suggested retail price of $44.99, and are both available in Pure White or Tour Yellow.
For more information, click here.
I said a few days ago that one of my favorite parts of major championship weeks is the special products that some of the big golf equipment companies create.
Callaway, of course, outfits its staff players with limited-edition bags themed for each major, and you can see Phil Mickelson's oak leaf-adorned PGA Championship bag above.
Also above is something truly unique that Callaway creates – they're called ''challenge coins,'' and there's one for each major of 2013.
This year's designs include a magnolia blossom for the Masters, a star for the U.S. Open, the Union Jack for the Open Championship and, of course, an oak leaf for the PGA Championship at Oak Hill. Callaway mostly distributes to the coins to its employees and staff players, though a lucky few civilians have gotten a few as well.
Challenge coins have a long military history, and I've also seen them created for colleges and companies. Few of them, I have to say, look as distinctive as these.