Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage on

From figure of fun to major champion: Dufnering with the PGA trophy

By Chris Murphy, CNN
updated 8:02 AM EDT, Mon August 12, 2013
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Jason Dufner celebrates his first ever major title with success at U.S. PGA Championship
  • Dufner says he might celebrate by doing a spot of 'Dufnering' pose with his trophy
  • The 36-year-old was teased by fellow pros for falling asleep on a school visit in Dallas
  • Dufner insists his first major victory won't change him one bit as a person

(CNN) -- This time it'll be Jason Dufner who laughs last and loudest.

For months he's been ribbed by his pals for dozing off during a visit to a school arranged through the PGA Tour, creating a phenomenon that became internationally known as "Dufnering."

The 36-year-old captured his maiden major title at the PGA Championship at Oak Hill in New York on Sunday, two years after his heartbreaking playoff defeat to Keegan Bradley.

And don't be surprised if the Alabama resident does another spot of "Dufnering" this week, this time with a major difference -- the Wanamaker Trophy will be by his side.

Read: Redemption for Dufner at PGA Championship

Dufner claims 1st major title
Jason Dufner celebrated in low-key fashion after winning his first major at the PGA Championship. He beat Jim Furyk, right, by two shots. Jason Dufner celebrated in low-key fashion after winning his first major at the PGA Championship. He beat Jim Furyk, right, by two shots.
Low key celebration
HIDE CAPTION
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
>
>>
How Justin Rose shines under pressure

"I checked out there," Dufner told CNN of the moment when he fell asleep on a trip to Dallas that was subsequently recreated by Bradley, Rory McIlroy and Bubba Watson to name but a few.

"That's the only time I did it, actually I did it once with Lindsey Vonn because she asked me.

"They caught me in a moment of relaxation and then the guys out here tried to give me a good ribbing on it and tried to get me in trouble.

"I ran with it and it turned out to be a good thing and a lot of people have taken to it so maybe I'll give them a special treat when I get home later this week with the trophy."

Dufner has become a cult figure on Tour due to his "moment of relaxation" but also because of his incredibly laid back demeanor.

His mood barely seems to flicker away from calm and composed -- some people criticizing him for a lack of emotion -- and during his charge to the title he was still seen chewing tobacco.

Dufner says his climb to the pinnacle of the game has kept him grounded and that his new found success won't alter him.

"A lot of things are going to change in my life because of this but I don't think it's going to change me one bit," he explained.

"That's just who I am, the way my parents raised me, that's the way I've been since day one.

A lot of things are going to change in my life because of this but I don't think it's going to change me one bit
Jason Dufner

"No matter what success I've had I've always had a lot of the same friends, the people that have been with me through college and through the mini tours.

"I've had the same caddy for 12 years which is pretty darn though out here. Those are the type of relationships I build and that's the type of guy I am."

That it was the PGA Championship crown that helped him break his major duck was fitting.

Two years ago Dufner blew a five-shot lead over Bradley, eventually losing to his U.S. Ryder Cup teammate in a playoff.

But after he fired a final round of 68 to finish on 10-under Bradley was one of the first to congratulate him, having raced back from the airport to toast his friend's victory.

"It made me hungrier actually to be so close and lose it like I did," Dufner said of his near miss at the Atlanta Athletic Club in 2011.

"I was able to learn from all the mistakes I made, learn from that experience and put it all together this week.

Jackson: No filming without golf
Women golfers face off at Solheim Cup
Teenage golf star defies the odds

"Unfortunately when I did lose I was a little disappointed but I think it helped me in the long run.

"It's tough because you're not sure what happened or did I really do this but to be in the company of people who've won majors now and to have my name on the Wannamaker Trophy -- unbelievable feeling."

Dufner's triumph marks the end of an arduous 13-year rise to the top of the game.

After turning professional in 2000 he flitted between the PGA Tour and its feeder competition, the Nationwide Tour.

He's remained his usual unflappable self throughout his journey and has gone from strength to strength since cementing his spot on the PGA Tour in 2009.

"It's always been a struggle for me," Dufner explained.

"I felt like I was talented but I went through the ranks, whether it be junior golf, college golf, mini tour, early pro golf it was a struggle.

"There were moments of greatness followed by a lot of disappointment and frustration and question marks but the last couple years I've really solidified my spot out here on the PGA Tour.

"Now I'm getting more comfortable trying to win these tournaments."

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 10:49 AM EDT, Mon October 13, 2014
There have been many dark days for Oliver Wilson, but golf's unluckiest loser is finally riding an upward swing of his career roller coaster.
updated 12:48 PM EDT, Tue October 7, 2014
They dress like it's the 1930s and they swing antique equipment that eschews cutting-edge technology -- this is hickory golf.
updated 12:09 PM EDT, Mon September 15, 2014
CNN's Living Golf focuses on women's golf, charting the growth of the sport from royal pastime to multi-million dollar machine.
updated 4:46 AM EDT, Wed October 1, 2014
"I don't know how to paint happy," says golf's poster girl Michelle Wie. "I think it releases a lot of the darker feelings in me."
updated 8:13 AM EDT, Mon September 29, 2014
Phil Mickelson of the United States talks during a press conference after the United States were defeated by Europe after the Singles Matches of the 2014 Ryder Cup on the PGA Centenary course at the Gleneagles Hotel on September 28, 2014 in Auchterarder, Scotland.
If you're a U.S. golf fan, or Tom Watson, look away now.
updated 7:18 PM EDT, Thu September 25, 2014
A ban on uploading social media pictures from the course at Gleneagles was dropped for the Ryder Cup.
updated 6:52 AM EDT, Wed September 24, 2014
A spot of shopping, the odd spa day and some serious flag waving. Welcome to the life of a Ryder Cup WAG.
updated 9:01 AM EDT, Tue September 23, 2014
Tom Watson has learned plenty in the 21 years since he was last U.S. Ryder Cup captain, but social media is proving to be problematic.
updated 8:43 AM EDT, Mon September 22, 2014
Patriotism will reach fever pitch when the USA and Europe collide in golf's Ryder Cup ... and it looks like Rickie Fowler has let it go to his head.
updated 9:42 AM EDT, Mon September 22, 2014
Pressure is inescapable in the cauldron of Ryder Cup competition -- pressure and ping pong.
updated 7:50 AM EDT, Tue September 23, 2014
Millions of golf fans were watching on television with great anticipation. All Martin Kaymer could think about was getting his phone out.
ADVERTISEMENT