Jason Dufner is at the Masters this week indicating that he’s had a pretty good run.
It began at the end of 2008 with a T11 to earn his card at Q-School for 2009. He must have been ready because he had a T2 and T3 among his 6 top-10s and made $2.2 million.
2010 wasn’t as good, but he managed 2 top-10s and $1.1 million.
I first became aware of him when I covered the 2011 Waste Management Phoenix Open. That was the freezing cold one that went into a Monday playoff which he lost to Mark Wilson.
He had such a laconic, laid back way of being, I thought he was going to go to sleep right there in the media center during his post-round interview. In so many words, his view of the week was that he played pretty good and thought that 2nd was nothing to sneeze at. He was taking the long view. Tongue in cheek, I began to refer to him as my “favorite slacker dude.”
But when he managed the same thing in his playoff with Keegan Bradley at the PGA Championship at the end of the season, he became famous not only for the T2, but for his unaffected reaction to not winning. In so many words and still taking the long view, he said that finishing second at the PGA was not the worst thing in the world that could happen to you. He made $3.0 million for the year.
2012 was the payoff year for all of his unaffected patience. He won the Zurich Classic of New Orleans and the HP Byron Nelson Classic in Dallas, played well on the Ryder Cup team and hauled in $4.9 million. He was now officially famous…but still the loveable slacker dude who won the heart of his gorgeous fiance, Amanda. They got married right after his New Orleans win.
Unaffected as always, while other very successful Tour pros were setting up residences in Florida and Arizona, he and Amanda stayed put in Auburn, Alabama, where he went to Auburn University earning a degree in economics. The guy is not dumb. He’s just unaffected.
One of the things you do when you become famous is say “yes” to a lot of charitable events where you are the draw for attention and money. Back in Dallas with kids at the Salesmanship Youth and Family Center as seen in this now-famous photo, Dufner had a moment or two when he was lost in deep thought. As quoted in the AP:
Just caught me at a perfect time. The funny thing about it is the photo taken represents how I act all the time. It was a sheer moment of ‘Jason Dufner’ by whoever captured the moment for the 30 seconds I checked out.
Well, the mimics of Dufnering raged across Twitter kicked off and led by Keegan Bradley and off it went from there. A long list of Tour pros including Justin Leonard, Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson, Brandt Snedeker, Bubba Watson, et al, joined the fun. Some saw it as pretty brutal teasing, but as Dufner said today in a Masters interview, he was, uh, unaffected.
What did you make of the whole “Dufnering” thing?
Pretty neat. I didn’t have to do much. It was being kind of normal and my wife gets to see me doing that quite a bit, so she wasn’t impressed.
What are you thinking, man?
Not much. I just kind of ran with it and let it go. I didn’t have to do much. A lot of press for not doing anything.
Does it bother you, though, that you’ve — people probably know you more for Dufnering than being —
I think it’s a pretty good mix. Have had some good results and people know I’m a pretty good golfer and it adds to the personality that I have out here and the persona that I have, so people can identify both with the play and now with the Dufnering.
It’s had a pretty good life?
Yeah, it’s still going pretty strong.
Have you seen anybody do it out here this week?
Oh, yeah. A lot of guys have been doing it.
Fans or golfers?
Both. No golfers, just fans.
What is your favorite one so far that you’ve seen?
I had a guy that was on a transport plane in the military and they dropped the bottom part out and they were about 20,000 feet in the air and he was doing it right on the back end of the plane.
The classic turning of lemons into lemonade. If people are going to mercilessly tease you and make you out for a slacker dude, you might as well laugh all the way to the bank; in an unaffected manner, of course.
So the point of this post is that if you are thrust into the emotional caldron that is the Masters, Jason Dufner doesn’t have to work too hard at just Dufnering his way through it. As funny as this all is, his is almost the perfect way of being for something as big as this.
He said that his game is pretty good but that he came in with a little rust, not having played in three weeks. So if his game can catch up to his way of being, or maybe settle down to his way of being, my favorite slacker dude could fair pretty well this week.
And be totally unaffected by it, of course.