PGA Championship runner-up Dufner gets 'group' therapy at Auburn

jason dufner
Getty Images
By
Doug Ferguson
Associated Press

Series: PGA Tour

Published: Wednesday, August 17, 2011 | 6:14 p.m.

Jason Dufner went from a devastating playoff loss at the PGA Championship to the next stop on the PGA Tour, but not before a brief detour for some group therapy.

A big group.

Dufner went to Auburn and has remained close with some of the football coaches, who called him Monday and asked him to come by the football complex. The Tigers had an off day, but Dufner got quite a surprise when he walked into one of the auditoriums.

"The whole team was in there, and they gave me a standing ovation," Dufner said Tuesday. "So that's pretty cool. I don't know a lot of those guys personally as far as the players go. ... You wouldn't expect a 320-pound defensive lineman to be watching golf on Sunday, but they were. And for the coaches to take time out of their meetings and practice on Sunday saying, `We were checking text messages, watching when we could,' that was a pretty neat experience for me."

Dufner is the kind of player who doesn't get too high or too low, and usually doesn't let his mind get beyond the next shot. He had a four-shot lead with four holes to play when he made three straight bogeys and wound up losing to Keegan Bradley by one shot in a playoff.

Dealing with the loss apparently has been harder on those around him.

"Everybody that's come up to me, I almost feel like it's a funeral or something tragic," he said. "I don't feel that way at all. It was a great experience. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to win that event, but I had a great chance, best opportunity probably to win a tour event, so I feel good."

"Maybe some guys are different. Maybe some guys would feel like it was a tragedy. But I don't really look at it that way," he said. "I'm disappointed with not being able to finish that tournament off with a W, but I'm a professional golfer. I'm going to continue to be a professional golfer."