FORT WORTH, Texas – Jason Dufner is 36 holes away from becoming the first player to score the DFW Slam – victories at the Byron Nelson and Colonial in the same year – since Ben Hogan in 1946. If he’s not careful he will be saddled with a Texas-sized nickname – may we suggest the Lonesome Dufner.
Jason Hogan . . . eh, Dufner. Comparisons to the Hawk are not entirely unfounded. Both were/are all-world ball-strikers, driven to perfection with a serious love-hate relationship with their putters. Both were/have been incorrectly labeled aloof and both seem to have played/play the game sans a pulse.
So it was no surprise then that when Cut Line asked Dufner’s swing coach, Chuck Cook, who his man’s swing resembled the answer was easy.
“He looks a lot like Hogan,” Cook said on Friday from Italy. “Hogan had his arms in front of him all the time just like Jason.”
And just like the Hawk, Dufner seems to be peaking a little later in life, having won two of his last three starts, after beginning his career 0-for-156, and breaking free of the pack on Friday at the Crowne Plaza Inviational with a second-round 64 to take the clubhouse lead at 11 under par.
The comparisons are not lost on Dufner, although he quickly dismissed the notion with an economy of words that would make Hogan proud.
“You can’t copy that (swing),” Dufner said. “You can try, but you can’t copy that.”
Stewart Cink. The cliché “These guys are good” comes to mind when one reviews Cink’s week in Fort Worth.
Almost a year ago a fan won a contest on Facebook to play with Cink in the Colonial pro-am, but when the six-time PGA Tour winner checked his schedule and realized his oldest son’s high school graduation was this week he was confronted with a dilemma.
Davis Love III offered to take Cink’s spot in the pro-am, but he decided to fly to Texas on Tuesday, play the pro-am and withdraw from the Colonial to assure he didn’t miss his son’s big day
“I told him Davis would do it but he said, ‘No, I made a commitment I’m doing it,’” said Mac Barnhardt, Cink’s manager with Crown Sports Management.
In one of those good karma deals, Kyle Reifers, the man who replaced Cink in the field, rounded Colonial in 65 strokes on Thursday and made a leaderboard cameo before slumping on Friday.
Seems these guys are good people and good players.
Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)
The price of pace of play. As distasteful as Morgan Pressel’s run in with an LPGA official’s stopwatch was last week, and it was, there is no ignoring the fact that at least the ladies circuit is trying to do something about the scourge that is slow play.
Pressel was assessed a slow play penalty during her semifinal match at the Sybase Match Play Championship last week, an incident compounded by the fact the match was on the clock because of the languid pace of her opponent Azahara Munoz.
“Pace of play is an issue, but in that situation, I’m not sure it should have been called,” Pressel told GolfChannel.com’s Randall Mell. “I’m a little upset, and I think I have a right to be. It was an unfortunate situation that could have changed the whole outcome of the tournament.”
Like a healthy diet, this doesn’t taste very good, but it’s still the right thing.
Tweet of the week: @Southpaw444 (Steve Flesch) “Apparently there was a break in a PGA Tour headquarters and all the slow play regulations were stolen out of the vault.”
7-irons. Or is it the lad who windmills them? Either way, Rory McIlroy deserves a timeout following his outburst on Thursday at this week’s BMW PGA Championship.
At Wentworth’s par-5 12th hole in Round 1, the Ulsterman “double crossed” his second shot and ended up on the wrong side of an out-of-bounds line by a half inch. After a poor provisional shot, McIlroy sent the offending 7-iron sailing.
“It's pretty disappointing,” McIlroy said. “I feel like I'm playing well, I just need to go out there and shoot a score.”
Tour officials said they planned to review the incident and issue the appropriate penalty if one was merited, although if one were to ask the 7-iron, the culpability would be rather clear.
As for those who have turned this into a Tiger vs. Rory debate, comparing the heat Woods took when he kicked his club last month at Augusta National to the relatively gentle treatment McIlroy received this week, this isn’t about picking sides, it’s about deciding what’s acceptable behavior. And neither incident qualifies as acceptable.
Hogan’s (lonely) Alley. To be clear, this is not an indictment against the Crowne Plaza field, just the players who should be in it. Or maybe the blame should go to the PGA Tour schedule makers who have relegated the event to the post-Players, pre-U.S. Open wasteland.
With respect to the players who have braved 30 mph gusts and bottomless plates of Texas brisket this week – a list that includes two of the top 10 players in the Official World Golf Ranking and six of the top 10 on the FedEx Cup points list – a piece of the game’s past seems to be slipping away.
In this the numbers don’t lie. This week’s winner will earn 50 world ranking points, compared to 64 for the winner at this week’s BMW PGA Championship on the European Tour. Although that’s up slightly from last year (46), it’s below what the Colonial champion earned in the four previous outings (2007-’10).
Colonial, one of the Tour’s most well-liked courses, deserves better. Hogan, one of the game’s hardest workers and iconic figures, deserves better.