It was a decade ago the 2013 PGA Championship was last staged at the Oak Hill Country Club course at Pittsford in upstate New York.
I had been in attendance at the 2011 championship when Keegan Bradley denied fellow American Jason Dufner in a play-off in suburban Atlanta, so when Dufner was assured of being handed the gleaming Rodman Wanamaker trophy two years on, it was as if Dufner had made amends for his play-off defeat.
Dufner was then aged 36 and after losing out in a play-off at the 2012 Phoenix Open, he finally broke through on the PGA Tour to win twice within the space of a month in April and May 2012.
Six days after his breakthrough PGA win at the 2012 Zurich Classic of New Orleans he celebrated his marriage to the stunning-looking Amanda Boyd. The couple had got engaged at a rooftop bar in New York City with the marriage celebrated in Auburn, Alabama where both Dufner and his wife had gone to college.
Their wedding reception featured mini golf and Cornhole, a backyard game similar to horseshoes where you try to throw small bean bags through a hole in a wooden board.
Dufner’s second victory was at the Byron Nelson Championship in Texas, and it was following that win that he was asked if he ever showed emotion. “Here and there a couple of times a year,” he said. “Usually there is some alcohol involved or Auburn football, but for the most part I’m laid back.”
The agenda for Dufner’s Dallas trip that year also included an appearance at J. Erik Jonsson Community School, which is largely funded by the Salesmanship Club, the organisation that runs the Byron Nelson. It’s where the photograph of Dufner sitting against a wall of the school room, looking to better support his back, led to the term ‘Dufnering’ and that would soon see golfers the world over copying the sitting position.
Later in 2012 that year, Dufner made his one and only Ryder Cup appearance, winning three of four matches in a beaten USA side at the ‘Miracle at Medinah.
In heading to Oak Hill for the 2013 PGA Championship he’d finished fourth for a second year running at the US Open, so Dufner had good form on the board.
Though for those who have been around or observed Dufner, he’s the definition of ‘laid back’. He walks slowly, never getting out of first gear. He speaks softly and goes about all things without any fuss. He’s the type of person who wouldn’t shout if a shark bit him.
However, as the 2013 PGA Championship got underway, it was Dufner, and again playing with his signature chewing tobacco inside his lower lip, who was making most of the noise sharing both the second round and third day lead ahead of producing a closing score of 68 to deny Jim Furyk by two strokes and capture the 95th hosting of the PGA Championship.
With victory assured, I sat with my colleagues in the media centre of the 2013 PGA Championship wondering what the hell are we going to write about.
Yes, Dufner’s victory two years after letting slip a first major triumph at the 2011 PGA Championship was a decent enough story but when a couple of the newspapers you are writing sport a red banner it’s hardly the copy the sports editors are seeking.
Though as Dufner turned to walk triumphantly from the final green he was soon embraced by his wife, Amanda wearing a ‘you couldn’t miss it’ white dress, and as white as her beaming smile.
Then as the couple turned to head to the scorer’s hut, Dufner gave his wife a pat on the butt, and a gesture that did everything to strengthen his popularity among his male followers.
There was the story.
During the course of Dufner’s 2013 PGA Championship Dufner was asked about acorns he and his wife had collected in being present at the Oak Hill course.
“We purchased about 50 acres a couple years ago and we are currently building a home on it,” Dufner revealed.
“So, we’ll have plenty of space to grow the trees and hopefully they will take root. We got a sapling actually the other day from the general manager here at Oak Hill and at least that one will take root.
“I will have some trees out there, and it will be a neat experience, first major championship at Oak Hill and hopefully have some of their oak trees out there hopefully on the property.”
Sadly, the marriage lasted just three years with the couple parting ways in 2015.
Leave a comment