Dufner gives pep talk, tries to win one for Auburn

By Jason SobelJanuary 10, 2014, 1:12 am

HONOLULU – The consummate Auburn superfan, Jason Dufner didn’t attend some lavish party or hit up a local sports bar for Monday night’s BCS Championship Game. Instead, he watched in his hotel room at the Ritz-Carlton Kapalua with wife Amanda, intent on catching every second of the contest. True to his low-key nature, when the Tigers lost in the final seconds he didn’t yell or throw things or trash the room.

“It’s just kind of like I do with golf,” he said. “You take about 20-30 minutes and then get over it and take a shower and get ready for bed.”

Actually, he did one other thing, too.

He gave a pep talk to Auburn coach Gus Malzahn.

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“I talked to him right after the game, and I’ve talked to him a couple times since,” he confided. “Just trying to be encouraging because they were pretty down about how the game ended, disappointed. It's hard [when] you have such a great season. I know all those guys, and the coaches felt they were going to win that game.”

If it sounds backward for the laconic golfer to be offering a rah-rah speech to the football coach, well, that’s for good reason.

But in some ways, it also makes perfect sense.

Dufner is fond of reminding anyone who will listen that winning 1 or 2 percent of your starts at the highest level of professional golf will likely result in a Hall of Fame induction someday. It’s something he’s reminded Malzahn about over the past few days.

“I’ve got a lot of experience with failure out here,” explained Dufner, who has three wins in 199 previous PGA Tour starts. “I told him to take it from a guy who loses way more than he wins. You'll get over it and learn from it and you'll be better because of it.”

He also feels a certain responsibility to get his alma mater back on the winning track. The day after his football team’s loss, Dufner posted a series of tweets in which he wrote, “Disappointment and heartache are always part of sports. ... In times of defeat I have always learned more about myself and what it takes to win at a high level. ... My chance for redemption and reward starts this week.”

Dufner started that chance for Auburn redemption with a 3-under 67 at the Sony Open, leaving him in solid position after the opening round.

Not that he was overly enthused about it.

“I drove it bad, pretty lucky to shoot the score I did,” he admitted. “I had a good week last week. I hit it really good. Played a little bit better on the last day, so feeling good, and then today just couldn’t get it going.”

Any football coach can understand an inability to “get it going,” especially one whose defense struggled to stop Florida State’s offense during the final drive of that game. The comparison ends, though, when you consider Dufner’s chances at a victory are seemingly endless, while his team is left to ponder its defeat for the next eight months.

“They’ll get over it once they get back into their off-season routine,” he said. “It's easy for us. Like I said, we just have another week. Next week is right around the corner. But they've got to wait until September.”

There’s still time for Dufner to put an Auburn victory on the board – and despite underwhelming himself during the opening round, his score has him right in the mix for that possibility come Sunday afternoon.

While he obviously wasn’t part of the team that lost on Monday – though he did offer a midseason locker room speech that appeared to rally the players – this is part of what Dufner termed the “chance for redemption and reward” in those tweets.

So far he’s been able to help by speaking with Malzahn, relating his personal failures in golf and encouraging the coach to keep pushing forward.

“This is just the beginning of what he has in plan for Auburn football,” Dufner said. “This is just all part of it.”

Pep talks are one thing. Dufner knows, though, if he really wants to cheer up War Eagle Nation after its recent loss, the best thing he can do this week is the one thing his team came agonizingly short of accomplishing on Monday night.

Win the title.

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Furyk: Not a 'good idea' to team Tiger, Phil at Ryder Cup

By Ryan LavnerJune 25, 2018, 1:12 pm

Those hoping for another Tiger Woods-Phil Mickelson partnership at the Ryder Cup might be sorely disappointed.

U.S. captain Jim Furyk all but slammed the door on the reboot Monday on Golf Channel’s “Morning Drive.” Speaking at the CVS Health Charity Classic, Furyk laughed off the idea and said that it wouldn’t be a “good idea” for him to team them again.

“It worked out so well the first time,” he said, chuckling, referring to the 2004 matches, where captain Hal Sutton paired the sport’s two biggest stars and watched them go 0-2 en route to a lopsided team defeat at home.

Colin Montgomerie, who was also on the set and a member of that ’04 European squad, chimed in: “It was a great decision for Europe!”

Woods and Mickelson’s relationship has improved in recent years, since they were part of the task force that morphed into the Ryder Cup committee. They even played a practice round together this year at the Masters. But Furyk seemed to suggest even that wouldn’t be enough to put them together again in Paris.

“I hope they’re both watching, because they just fell off the couch laughing,” Furyk said. “I wouldn’t guess that would be a good idea as a captain, I’m just saying.”

Both Mickelson and Woods are outside the top 8 automatic qualifiers. Mickelson is currently ranked 10th, while Woods is now 39th.

Woods has already been named a vice captain for this year’s matches, though Furyk said that Woods had broached the topic of being a playing vice captain as early as January. Furyk added that he hasn’t discussed what Woods would need to show him over the course of the year to be considered for a captain’s pick.

“He hasn’t played as big of a schedule as everybody else,” Furyk said, “but when he has played, he’s played pretty well. Definitely an eye-opener for everyone.”

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Grandma hopes sick JT has some 's***-kicking antibiotics'

By Grill Room TeamJune 25, 2018, 1:08 pm

Justin Thomas tied for 56th at the Travelers Championship, still recovering from a brutal test at the U.S. Open and, apparently, battling an illness.

Thomas is next competing at this week's French Open, along with the likes of Jon Rahm, Tommy Fleetwood, Sergio Garcia and a host of potential Ryder Cup foes.

Count his grandmother as one who is pulling – really, really pulling – for his physical recovery.

Grandmothers are the best. And as you can make out from the top of the text exchange, she finally figured out what was on JT’s pants in Round 1 at Shinnecock Hills.

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What's in the bag: Travelers champion Watson

By Golf Channel DigitalJune 25, 2018, 12:22 pm

Bubba Watson won the Travelers Championship for a third time in his career. Here's a look inside his bag:

Driver: Ping G400 LST (7.6 degrees), with Grafalloy Bi-Matrix Prototype X shaft

Fairway wood:  Ping G (13.2 degrees), with Fujikura Tour Spec 8.2 X shaft

Irons: Ping iBlade (2), Ping S55 (4-PW), with True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100 shafts

Wedges: Ping Glide 2.0 (52 degrees, 55 degrees, 63 degrees), with True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100 shafts

Putter: Ping PLD Anser

Ball: Titleist Pro V1x

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Travelers purse payout: Bubba, Cink close low, earn big

By Golf Channel DigitalJune 25, 2018, 12:06 pm

Bubba Watson shot 63 on Sunday to win the Travelers Championship. He took home the trophy, but he wasn't the only player to earn a big payday. Here's how the purse was paid out at TPC River Highlands:

1 Bubba Watson -17 $1,260,000
T2 Stewart Cink -14 $462,000
T2 Beau Hossler -14 $462,000
T2 J.B. Holmes -14 $462,000
T2 Paul Casey -14 $462,000
T6 Kevin Tway -13 $234,500
T6 Brian Harman -13 $234,500
T6 Russell Henley -13 $234,500
T9 Chase Seiffert -12 $189,000
T9 Bryson DeChambeau -12 $189,000
T9 Anirban Lahiri -12 $189,000
T12 Rory McIlroy -11 $147,000
T12 Ryan Blaum -11 $147,000
T12 Jason Day -11 $147,000
T15 Charley Hoffman -10 $115,500
T15 Patrick Cantlay -10 $115,500
T15 Danny Lee -10 $115,500
T15 Kyle Stanley -10 $115,500
T19 Brooks Koepka -9 $79,000
T19 Fabian Gomez -9 $79,000
T19 David Lingmerth -9 $79,000
T19 Zach Johnson -9 $79,000
T19 Emiliano Grillo -9 $79,000
T19 Matt Jones -9 $79,000
T19 Jamie Lovemark -9 $79,000
T26 Sam Ryder -8 $49,700
T26 Si Woo Kim -8 $49,700
T26 Richy Werenski -8 $49,700
T26 Blayne Barber -8 $49,700
T26 Steve Marino -8 $49,700
T26 Peter Malnati -8 $49,700
T26 Patrick Rodgers -8 $49,700
T33 Alex Cejka -7 $39,550
T33 Tyler Duncan -7 $39,550
T33 Kevin Streelman -7 $39,550
T36 Seamus Power -6 $35,175
T36 James Hahn -6 $35,175
T38 Scott Stallings -5 $30,800
T38 Russell Knox -5 $30,800
T38 Brandon Harkins -5 $30,800
T38 Lanto Griffin -5 $30,800
T42 Adam Hadwin -4 $24,500
T42 J.J. Henry -4 $24,500
T42 Jordan Spieth -4 $24,500
T42 Mackenzie Hughes -4 $24,500
T42 Brett Stegmaier -4 $24,500
T47 Billy Hurley III -3 $17,578
T47 Vaughn Taylor -3 $17,578
T47 Sam Saunders -3 $17,578
T47 Kelly Kraft -3 $17,578
T47 Keegan Bradley -3 $17,578
T47 J.J. Spaun -3 $17,578
T47 Wesley Bryan -3 $17,578
T47 Denny McCarthy -3 $17,578
T47 Scott Brown -3 $17,578
T56 Ryan Armour -2 $15,680
T56 Keith Mitchell -2 $15,680
T56 Ken Duke -2 $15,680
T56 Justin Thomas -2 $15,680
T56 Hunter Mahan -2 $15,680
T61 John Huh -1 $14,910
T61 Martin Laird -1 $14,910
T61 Steve Wheatcroft -1 $14,910
T61 James Driscoll -1 $14,910
T61 Tom Lovelady -1 $14,910
T61 Nick Hardy -1 $14,910
T67 Daniel Berger E $14,350
T67 Trey Mullinax E $14,350
T69 Cameron Tringale 1 $14,000
T69 Kyle Thompson 1 $14,000
T69 Ethan Tracy 1 $14,000
T72 Dominic Bozzelli 2 $13,650
T72 Martin Flores 2 $13,650
74 Padraig Harrington 4 $13,440