by Jeff Skinner
With the PGA Championship right around the corner we’ll be seeing a bit more of the defending champion Jason Dufner. Dufner seemingly has come out of nowhere to not only be a major champion but also a popular culture icon. After all, “Dufnering” had taken the nation by storm.
Known as much for his laidback demeanor on the course as his world class golf Duf is quite a character. His friends and fellow players will tell you that he is witty and quick to give the needle. He and Keegan Bradley carry on a daily battle of ball busting with each other trying to get the better his pal.
Dufner is featured in Golf Digest and you’ll get a different perspective of Duf who is a lot more old school than he appears.
I’M A KID IN A LOT OF WAYS. I love getting a cool autograph. I have a picture of Bo Jackson with the football pads and baseball bat across his shoulder. I have a signed poster of Michael Jordan taking off from the foul line, which I got at the 2012 Ryder Cup. It’s childlike, but not childish. In a way, I really owe those guys. If it weren’t for the heroes I had as a kid, there’s no way I would have become a pro athlete. It was because of them that I practiced hard. They helped me aspire to have a better life. Those autographed posters are like a tribute to them.
BEING IN THE PUBLIC EYE is tough for me. It’s been an adjustment. My whole life, I’ve flown under the radar, and to suddenly put everything out there, I admit makes me uncomfortable. I guess I’m a shy person, at least to people I don’t know well, or who don’t know me. I tweet a lot [@JasonDufner, with more than 388,000 followers], but mostly fun stuff about Auburn, the NBA, what I see on TV, or promotional things for sponsors or the Jason Dufner Foundation. It’s not a close look into my daily activities or personal life. I have to hold some things back that only the people close to me can see. It’s what keeps me sane.
WHEN KEEGAN BRADLEY put the Dufnering thing out there, I just went with the flow. You can’t hide from who you are. I really do sit like that, and it definitely was kind of funny. But I’ll tell you something—and I hope kids who get teased at school are reading this—when somebody says or does something that bothers you, don’t let them know it. Keep your cards close to your chest. Roll with it, and sooner rather than later it’ll stop.
BEN HOGAN is the man. My hero. As a kid, I read his books and later watched every bit of video I could put my eyes on. What’s cool is how he got to be a pretty good pro after coming from nothing, and then deciding he wanted more out of it, and he found another gear. Then, after the car crash, he found still another gear and became a legend. That kind of dedication to become successful about the thing in life he felt passionate about, and actually pulling it off, is amazing.
Here’ s a behind the scenes look at Dufner’s cover shoot.