2013: The Year of Dufnering

Jason Dufner Dufnering
Photo: Courtesy Twitter account of David Watkins
Jason Dufner momentarily "checks out" - but a moment was all that was needed.
By John Kim

Series: Golf Buzz

Published: Tuesday, December 17, 2013 | 1:34 p.m.

It started innocently enough: A Tour pro, a classroom full of kids and a stiff back from sitting on the floor for an extended time. What happened next led to a yearlong social phenomenon and series of gags that helped "Dufnering" remain a trending topic.

Even without that fateful March day, Jason Dufner's star was on the rise. Having worked his way up through the mini-tours, Dufner - who was once most most notable for losing a four-shot lead with three holes to go at the 2011 PGA Championship - had rebounded in spectacular fashion in 2012 including wins at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans and the HP Byron Nelson Championship.  

His play even earned him a spot on the 2012 U.S. Ryder Cup team where he was lauded for being a great teammate and a clutch performer.

But it was a promotional appearance he made as defending champion of the HP Byron Nelson that made him a household name in the most viral way possible.



"I just kind of checked out," Dufner said about the infamous photo. "My back was hurting. They had us sitting cross-legged. My hips were killing me. I was like, this wall is going to be a good place to lean. I just did what was natural. I was there for an hour, and that was the only picture that surfaced."

But that picture, taken by a local news reporter and uploaded to Twitter, became an instant sensation.


Dufner's good friend Keegan Bradley (who incidentally, was the one who defeated Dufner in the 2011 PGA Championship playoff) posted it to his Twitter account. When Rory McIlroy saw it, he not only laughed, he mimicked the pose with a copycat pose of his own.

That started the trend of "Dufnering". To paraphrase an old Seinfeld line: The trend was real ...and it was spectacular.

Everybody in golf, in sports, in the world (animals too!) joined in on the trend: Gallery of Dufnering stars

Tumblr joined in on the fun at "Duff Don't Care".

Jason Dufner's star was on the rise and it had nothing to do with his game. He was now an Internet sensation, a viral star, a walking meme if you will.

Then August came around. The PGA of America wasn't going to let the rest of the golf world have all the fun - as even the PGA Officers got in on the act.



As if it were fated by the golf gods, the year of Dufnering was capped off by the ultimate Dufner moment - winning the PGA Championship.



I was fortunate enough to have a chance to accompany Jason Dufner and his wife Amanda on a tour of New York City during a media blitz after his win. Of course, one of the main topics of discussion - Dufnering.


See photo gallery of Dufner takes New York

Since then, Dufner has continued to take the world by storm. He has remained an active and passionate supporter of his beloved Auburn Tigers. An early season pep-talk to the football team helped propel them into a fantasy season like no other.  He even addressed the team and fired them up for a win over Texas A&M.  

Watch: Jason Dufner talks to the Auburn football team

The school returned the favor by naming a local street after him.

Is there no end to the Dufner magic? At the Tour Championship, Keegan Bradley celebrated an eagle from the fairway by - what else - Dufnering.

I mean, here we are in December and the trend is still going strong - even in the NFL.



So what will 2014 hold for the world of golf? Could it possibly top the "Dufnering" trend of 2013? I'm not sure. I think I'll have to think about it for awhile. Just relax and let my mind wander. Maybe sit down against this wall right here.....

You can follow John Kim on Twitter at @johnkim.  You can follow Jason Dufner on Twitter at @JasonDufner (though you probably already do).