Jason Dufner's touching gesture to PGA professional

Rob Labritz
Getty Images
PGA Professional Rob Labritz (right) will never forget this practice round at Oak Hill two days before the 95th PGA Championship where he and Keegan Bradley lost a hefty bet to Jason Dufner. Despite the loss, Labritz may now be Dufner's biggest fan.
By T.J. Auclair
PGA.com
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Series: Golf Buzz

Published: Friday, September 06, 2013 | 1:32 p.m.
There's no denying the fact that 2013 PGA Champion Jason Dufner has become a fan favorite. Whether it's Dufner's flat-liner approach on the golf course, the fact that he looks like a cartoon character, his cracking wit and relentless busting of buddy Keegan Bradley on Twitter, or the #Dufnering phenomenon that nearly crashed Twitter earlier this year (OK, that's a slight exaggeration), there's nothing not to love about Dufner.
 
Well, add this to the list of reasons to love Dufner too.
 
 
Here's the background: it's no secret that there are a lot of money games going on between players during practice rounds. This was no different at Oak Hill when Dufner and Dustin Johnson squared off against Bradley and Rob Labritz -- one of 20 PGA Professionals who qualified for the PGA Championship with a top-20 finish at the PGA Professional National Championship -- on Tuesday of Championship week. 
 
Aside: Labritz -- a four-time PGA Championship participant -- miraculously did this to earn a spot at Oak Hill in case you were thinking, "I've seen that name before." 
 
According to Sobel's report, after some discussions on the first tee, the bet was set -- $500 per man. 
 
From Sobel's report:
 
Even after birdies from Labritz on 10, 11 and 13 and one from Bradley on 14, they found themselves 4-down with four to play. On the 16th tee, they pressed for half the amount, with Bradley taking the banter to another level.
 
“Keegan goes, ‘Hey Rob, did I ever tell you this story? I was 4 down with five to go and I won this tournament,’” Labritz says, recalling Bradley’s needling of Dufner about the PGA Championship finish from two years earlier. “Dufner goes, ‘Hey, it ain’t going to happen that way this week.’”
 
After a halve on the final hole pushed a second press, Labritz and Bradley found themselves $750 in the hole -- which was a slight problem for the club pro.
 
Labritz, you see, didn't have $750 cash on him. He had to write a check out to Dufner and left it in his locker. In the memo, Labritz wrote:
 
"SORRY FOR THE CHECK + THX FOR THE WHOOPIN"
 
A few days after Dufner claimed his first major title, Labritz received a surprise in the mail. His $750 check...
 
Sobel tells us the rest:
 
It included Labritz’s check with the word “VOID” written through it and a note from the champ:
 
ROB,
 
GREAT TIME PLAYING WITH YOU LAST TUESDAY. I JUST COULDN’T CASH THIS CHECK. ALL THE BEST TO YOU AND YOUR FAMILY IN 2013 + HOPE TO SEE YOU IN 2014 @ VALHALLA.
 
JASON DUFNER
 
The gesture floored Labritz.
 
“Oh my God, are you kidding me? That’s just phenomenal. It’s just a classy move,” he says. “I think he’s a great guy.”
 
So, we gotta ask -- how cool is that?
 
Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tjauclair.
 
 

T.J. Auclair is a Senior Interactive Producer for PGA.com and has covered professional golf since 1998, traveling to over 60 major championships. You can follow him on Twitter, @tjauclair.


Comments

drfrasca

brad; there is no point trying to explain to the genius ( jrpepe), he will never get it. i bet he plays alot of rounds by himself.

lomerson2

Yet another class act by a classy guy. Way to go Jason!

awhatley

Good for Dufner. Exactly the type of thing I would expect from a classy Auburn man. WDE!

tlbantle

A picture from that round (10th Fairway): http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10200827788321275&set=a.10200667132984992.1073741838.1360743045&type=3&theater

jrpepe1

Cashing a check makes you seem greedy? Really?

Brad Patterson

There are two distinct sides to our business; the playing side and the "Experts in the Game of Golf" side...the business of golf. Jason paid his dues and is enjoying his success. Rob is a working man's pro who gets to cross the line once in awhile by letting his clubs do the talking. Gambling for these guys fuels the competitive fire. After $1.44 mil, the $750 was "a gesture" of sharing his success with his fellow PGA Professional. Not that Rob needs it. Rather a "Pay It Forward" move IMO. Well done Jason. I would have done the same thing. I think everyone would be curious now to see if Dustin gave Keegan the $750 cash back also. And Joe Blackwell? Your comments are wrong on every level "by design?" Oh pre-meditated? Greedy? You've obviously never been in that situation before. We don't walk around with $2K in our pockets.

jlingerb

He should have paid cash. Who pays bets with a check? That would have made Dufner look greedy by cashing the check. That move was designed to put Dufner on the spot. What a jerk move to pay him with a check.