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
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.
“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.
“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.
“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.”