School daze: 'Dufnering' taking off

By Jason SobelMarch 29, 2013, 8:19 pm

HUMBLE, Texas – Golf has a new overnight craze and it’s all about imitating the laconic Jason Dufner.

It’s called “Dufnering” and if you haven’t heard of it yet, you’re clearly out of the loop, because the term is trending around the nation. It revolves around a photograph and the gravitational pull of social media. As Dufner himself explained the genesis of the phenomenon in a tweet: “What can I say, I was tired, my back hurt from sitting on the floor, and we were talking about relaxation and focusing.”

Like every story, though, there’s more to it than that.

On Thursday, Dufner visited Irving, Texas, where he was celebrated as the reigning Byron Nelson Championship winner. He met with the mayor, hobnobbed with event sponsors and toured the tournament’s offices before heading over to The Salesmanship Club School to speak with a third-grade class.

Jason Dufner

The lesson for the day was concentration, something that comes in handy when you’re trying to hit a golf ball in front of thousands of fans.

“It was a focus activity to help them get ready to learn,” said Tracy Cobb, the tournament’s director of communications. “It’s about concentrating, paying attention to breathing. They would stand up and put a beanbag on their heads, using that mental focus. Then we let Jason talk to them about importance of focusing on the golf course and how critical that is for him.”

By Cobb’s account, Dufner was engaging and having fun talking with the kids. Once he was done, they went through one more focusing exercise that involved multiple repetitions of standing up and sitting down. Upon the last time, Dufner relaxed a little and, well, history was made.

A local news reporter – though it could have been anyone; there were about 60 people in the room and many were taking cell phone photos – took a picture of Dufner sitting against a wall, legs stretched out while sitting on his hands, a distant look on his face. If a picture says a thousand words, this one screamed classic Dufner, the man who looks the same whether he makes birdie or bogey, whether he’s winning or missing the cut.

Almost instantly, the photo went viral. It was posted to Deadspin.com, then started flying around Twitter and other social media outlets. By Thursday night, fellow PGA Tour stars such as Bubba Watson, Rickie Fowler and Luke Donald were posting their own “Dufnering” photos, and waves of golf fans and nonfans alike started flooding the Internet with submissions of their own.


For more 'Dufnering' Twitter photos click here, or on the image below.

Bubba Watson


“It's the best thing ever,” Rory McIlroy reported with a smile. “I've never had so much entertainment. I was on my own last night in the room and just going through things. The laughs, it's just too much. The first thing I said to Keegan [Bradley] when I saw them this morning, ‘This is best thing I've ever seen.’ … It was good entertainment for the night.”

The insinuation is that Dufner either wasn’t impressed or wasn’t having fun when the photo was taken, but those in attendance beg to differ.

“It’s a classic case,” said Byron Nelson tournament director Jon Drago, “of a picture being taken out of context.”

If any player is aware of how his profile can be boosted through social media, it’s Dufner. A two-time PGA Tour champion known as a solid ball-striker, he may not have much of a Q-rating if not for showing off his online persona.


What they're saying on Twitter


“It’s fun,” he said just a few weeks ago. “Me and a couple of other guys here on Tour, we have a little running war back and forth, just messing with each other, so that’s a neat way to interact with the fans. It’s good for my sponsors, it’s good for me, it’s good for my fans. They kind of feel like they can connect with me like we’re messaging back and forth.”

Now, much like NFL quarterback Tim Tebow brought “Tebowing” to the forefront, Dufner's name is synonymous with an action verb – and everybody wants in.

“When I saw how quick it got big and how everyone was doing, I started laughing hysterically,” Brandt Snedeker said. “I never knew Dufner had this wide range of appeal.”

“I couldn’t do it [Thursday night], because I was by myself. I tried to do it in front of a mirror and it didn’t work, so I waited until this morning and got Brandt and DJ to do it,” Bradley explained. “I’m a little nervous to be Dufnering at Augusta, but I’m going to be Dufnering everywhere I go, for sure.”

He and – for now – thousands of others, too. The latest craze should tell us plenty about the power of a photograph and the massive reach of social media. The world is now imitating a player whom most golf fans didn’t know just two years ago. It just proves how quickly things move these days.

As for Dufner, he hasn’t kept that expression from the photo in the time since it was taken, instead going from stoic to smiling – believe it or not.

'I can't really believe it, to be honest,” he said. “I've been laughing for some time about it. I think everyone is really enjoying it. The Twitterverse can be a pretty fun place.'


McCormick to caddie for Spieth at Aussie Open

By Will GrayNovember 19, 2017, 2:21 pm

When Jordan Spieth returns next week to defend his title at the Australian Open, he will do so without his regular caddie on the bag.

Spieth and Michael Greller have combined to win 14 tournaments and three majors, including three events in 2017. But Greller's wife, Ellie, gave birth to the couple's first child on Oct. 13, and according to a report from the Australian Herald Sun he will not make the intercontinental trip to Sydney, where Spieth will look to win for the third time in the last four years.

Instead, Spieth will have longtime swing coach and native Aussie Cameron McCormick on the bag at The Australian Golf Club. McCormick, who won PGA Teacher of the Year in 2015, is originally from Melbourne but now lives in Texas and has taught Spieth since he was a rising star among the junior golf ranks in Dallas.

While Greller has missed rounds before, this will be the first time as a pro that Spieth has used a different caddie for an entire event. Greller was sidelined with an injury last year in Singapore when Spieth's agent, Jay Danzi, took the bag, and trainer Damon Goddard has subbed in twice when Greller was sick, including this year at the Dean & DeLuca Invitational.

Spieth's torrid 2015 season traced back to his win at The Australian in 2014, and he returned to Oz last year where he won a playoff at Royal Sydney over Cameron Smith and Ashley Hall.

Rahm wins finale, Fleetwood takes Race to Dubai

By Will GrayNovember 19, 2017, 1:42 pm

Jon Rahm captured the final tournament on the European Tour calendar, a result that helped Tommy Fleetwood take home the season-long Race to Dubai title.

Rahm shot a final-round 67 to finish two shots clear of Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Shane Lowry at the DP World Tour Championship. It's the second European Tour win of the year for the Spaniard, who also captured the Irish Open and won on the PGA Tour in January at the Farmers Insurance Open.

"I could not be more proud of what I've done this week," Rahm told reporters. "Having the weekend that I've had, actually shooting 12 under on the last 36 holes, bogey-free round today, it's really special."

But the key finish came from Justin Rose, who held the 54-hole lead in Dubai but dropped back into a tie for fourth after closing with a 70. Rose entered the week as one of only three players who could win the Race to Dubai, along with Sergio Garcia and Fleetwood, who started with a lead of around 250,000 Euros.


DP World Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

Full-field scores from the DP World Tour Championship


With Fleetwood in the middle of the tournament pack, ultimately tying for 21st after a final-round 74, the door was open for Rose to capture the title thanks to a late charge despite playing in half the events that Fleetwood did. Rose captured both the WGC-HSBC Champions and Turkish Airlines Open, and was one round away from a two-trophy photo shoot in Dubai.

Instead, his T-4 finish meant he came up just short, as Fleetwood won the season-long race by 58,821 Euros.

The title caps a remarkable season for Fleetwood, who won the HSBC Abu Dhabi Championship as well as the French Open to go along with a pair of runner-up finishes and a fourth-place showing at the U.S. Open.

"I find it amazing, the season starts in November, December and you get to here and you're watching the last shot of the season to decide who wins the Race to Dubai," Fleetwood said at the trophy ceremony. "But yeah, very special and something we didn't really aim for at the start of the year, but it's happened."

Battling mono, Kaufman tied for lead at CME

By Randall MellNovember 19, 2017, 2:05 am

NAPLES, Fla. – Kim Kaufman’s bout with mononucleosis might leave fellow tour pros wanting to catch the fever, too.

A couple months after Anna Nordqvist battled her way into contention at the Women’s British Open playing with mono, and then thrived at the Solheim Cup with it, Kaufman is following suit.

In her first start since being diagnosed, Kaufman posted an 8-under-par 64 Saturday to move into a four-way tie for the lead at the CME Group Tour Championship. It was the low round of the day. She’s bidding to win her first LPGA title.

“I’ve been resting at home for two weeks,” Kaufman said. “Didn’t do anything.”

Well, she did slip on a flight of stairs while recuperating, hurting her left wrist. She had it wrapped Saturday but said that’s mostly precautionary. It didn’t bother her during the round.


CME Group Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

Full-field scores from the CME Group Tour Championship


“I’m the only person who can take two weeks off and get injured,” Kaufman joked.

Kaufman, 26, left the Asian swing after playing the Sime Darby Malaysia, returning to her home in South Dakota, to see her doctor there. She is from Clark. She was told bed rest was the best thing for her, but she felt good enough to make the trip to Florida for the season-ending event.

“We had some really cold days,” Kaufman said. “We had some snow. I was done with it. I was coming down here.”

How does she feel?

“I feel great,” she said. “I’m a little bit shaky, which isn’t great out there, but it’s great to be here doing something. I was going a little bit stir crazy [at home], just kind of fighting through it.”

Kaufman made eight birdies in her bogey-free round.

New-look Wie eyes CME Group Tour Championship title

By Randall MellNovember 19, 2017, 1:32 am

NAPLES, Fla. – Michelle Wie is sporting a new look that even has fellow players doing double takes.

Bored during her six-week recovery from an emergency appendectomy late this summer, Wie decided to cut and die her hair.

She went for golden locks, and a shorter style.

“I kind of went crazy after being in bed that long,” Wie said. “I just told my mom to grab the kitchen scissors and just cut all my hair off.”

Wie will get to sport her new look on a big stage Sunday after playing herself into a four-way tie for the lead at the CME Group Tour Championship. With a 6-under-par 66, she is in contention to win her fifth LPGA title, her first since winning the U.S. Women’s Open three years ago.


CME Group Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

Full-field scores from the CME Group Tour Championship


Wie, 28, fought her way back this year after two of the most disappointing years of her career. Her rebound, however, was derailed in late August, when she withdrew from the final round of the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open to undergo an emergency appendectomy. She was out for six weeks.

Before the surgery, Wie enjoyed getting back into contention regularly, with six finishes of T-4 or better this season. She returned to the tour on the Asian swing in October.

Fellow tour pros were surprised when she came back with the new look.

“Definitely, walk by people and they didn’t recognize me,” Wie said.

Wie is looking to continue to build on her resurgence.

“I gained a lot of confidence this year,” she said. “I had a really tough year last year, the last couple years. Just really feeling like my old self. Really feeling comfortable out there and having fun, and that's when I play my best.”