In 2013 I was at the PGA Championship at Oak Hill Country Club. My son was living nearby at the time and we grabbed some tickets to watch the best golfers in the world try for “Glory’s last Shot.”
Friday morning the course was getting soaked by an unrelenting rain that tested both golfers and fans. We toughed it out through the mud and the rain and by the afternoon the sun was bright and the skies were blue.
While traversing Oak Hill that afternoon we realized that history was in the offing as Jason Dufner was shooting lights out. A front nine 31 paired with birds at eleven and thirteen had him at six under par and looking at an historic round.
62 had never been shot in a major and with Oak Hill set up as a par 70 for the PGA Dufner had a realistic chance at history.
So we picked up the eventual champion on the fifteenth hole watched him birdie sixteen to get to seven under and we, like thousands of others followed him in.
It was electric with the crowd going from ecstatic to dead quiet as he chased history. He had a real chance for a birdie on eighteen to get to 62 but left it short, even he said he felt the pressure of that putt.
He failed to break the record but tied it and went on to win his first major that weekend. I watched the win from my couch and Dufner became a cult hero as he patted his wife’s ass and then later started the crazy “Dufnering” trend.
Since that day Dufner has had some off field issues as he and his publicity seeking wife got divorced in an all too public affair.
Dufner lost some weight and with it his game. The last two seasons saw Dufner go winless and only earned six top tens in 38 starts. He fell hard but this year we’ve seen a new Dufner.
Coming into the CareerBuilder Challenge he already had two top tens and had teamed with Brandt Snedeker to win the unofficial Franklin Templeton Shootout.
That new game served him well this week as he hung on to beat David Lingmerth on the second playoff hole to finally find the winner’s circle again.
Dufner squandered a two shot lead at the start of the day and his two under 70 was six shots worse than round three but the important thing is that he hung on.
And sometimes in golf, like in life hanging on is all one needs.
Cheers to Jason Dufner for hanging on and breaking through once again.