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.
Jason Dufner's touching gesture to PGA professional
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.
GolfChannel.com writer Jason Sobel had a fantastic story today about a little something Dufner did shortly after the biggest win of his career last month at Oak Hill.
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:
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.
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.