What We Learned: Dufner wins PGA Championship


Each week, GolfChannel.com offers thoughts on 'what we learned' from the world of golf. In this edition, our writers weigh in on Jason Dufner's PGA win, Tiger Woods' struggles and the 2013 major season.

If he isn't already, Jason Dufner is about to become one of the Tour's most popular players. He's already a one-name star, along with Tiger and Phil and Ernie and Rory. Fans dig his no-pulse demeanor. They relate to his physique and tobacco vice. They view him as a normal guy who likes to watch sports and tweak his friends on Twitter, who appears in those cheesy commercials and has a telegenic wife. Life is good for Duf, the new PGA champ. And it's about to only get better. – Ryan Lavner

The year 2013 won’t be remembered as the greatest major championship season in recent memory, but it was still highly intriguing, packed with entertainment and drama and heroics. What I’ll remember most about this year’s majors, though, is that the surprises were nowhere to be found. Not only did we fail to have a Rich Beem or Shaun Micheel or Todd Hamilton type of champion – no disrespect to those major champs, who were deserving of their wins but hardly household names – we really never even saw them in contention. No journeymen, no flukes, no unexpected visitors. Now you could make a case that a player like Marc Leishman at the Masters or Jonas Blixt at the PGA Championship isn’t exactly a superstar, but they are PGA Tour champions – and those were about the least known names to find a weekend leaderboard. Other than that, the majors were largely replete with elite contenders on all four occasions. It made for terrific viewing and once again showed just how difficult winning one of these can be. – Jason Sobel

That the 15th will be Tiger Woods’ greatest challenge. The world No. 1’s tie for 44th at the PGA Championship marked the 18th major Woods has played since winning a Grand Slam start. Although Woods still has time, and health, on his side, it should be noted that only Ben Hogan won five majors after his 38th birthday and Woods will be 38 when he tees off next spring at Augusta National.  – Rex Hoggard

This must be the year of the unflappable major champion.

Jason Dufner’s cool, calm and remarkably unaffected demeanor is rivaled in today’s game by only Inbee Park. She won three majors this year with equally unshakable composure. While fiery players can be more fun to watch, Dufner and Park are compelling in how tranquil they appear navigating through what has to be an inner storm of angst trying to close out a major. They may never master the game, but they sure look like they’re mastering themselves. – Randall Mell